Headline: A former police officer in La Mesa, California lied on his report to get a Black man arrested. Shocker.
Matthew Dages is on trial for lying on the report in the arrest of Amaurie Johnson in May 2020. Opening statements just began. The attorney for Dages, Jeremiah Sullivan, claims the police report is honest and was reviewed by many people above him, per a report from Fox 5 San Diego.
But should we believe anything they say? Police departments have a history of protecting their own, even if they are in the wrong. There is an absence of accountability.
Johnson’s arrest came during a time when people across the country were protesting the killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.
From Fox 5 San Diego:
Dages was taking part in a “fare compliance operation” with other officers at the nearby trolley station and alleged in his report that he initially contacted Johnson for smoking in public and failing to have a trolley fare while being in a “fare paid zone.”
Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner told an El Cajon jury that Johnson was holding a cell phone and that no lighter, cigarettes or other smoking implements were found on his person following his arrest.
The prosecutor said the interaction between Johnson and the officer escalated into an argument when Dages would not let Johnson leave the scene after his friends arrived.
Videos of the incident show Dages pushing Johnson into a seated position, which Taschner said occurred multiple times. Dages alleged in his report that Johnson balled his fists, took a “bladed stance” and struck him on the arm.
According to Taschner, Dages “confronted, detained and arrested a young man who had done nothing wrong and then he lied about it in his police report.”
Johnson was later arrested on suspicion of assault on an officer, and resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer.
According to Fox 5 San Diego, Dages is charged with a felony count of filing a false police report. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
Here the question. Why are police officers so aggressive when the crime is as small as smoking in public and not having a trolley fare? See, that is why so many people are frustrated with police. They say even if a crime was committed, it does not have to escalate to a level where aggression is used and oftentimes ends in a Black man being hurt or killed.
But this case is especially alarming because Dages is accused of lying about Johnson smoking in public and not having a trolley fare! You can’t make this up.
Dages’ attorney even said his client did nothing wrong “when you take off the aggressive lens from this case,” according to Fox 5 San Diego.
Well, that’s kind of a hard thing to just erase from my mind. But Dages’ attorney maintains that his client’s police report was “100 percent truthful and accurate.”
Johnson’s arrest was recorded on the body came footage by another officer. You be the judge.