A troubling video from La Mesa, California, that surfaced this week and quickly went viral, shows a white law enforcement officer confronting an Afro-American man who seems to be simply waiting at a trolley station. As the officer in question is currently placed on administrative leave by LMPD, awaiting an outside investigation, the man he arrested speaks up.
Amaurie Johnson and his friend, Henry Lieng, who filmed the whole scene, both gave an interview to CBS8, stating that they were just planning to meet with their other friends when the officer approached them.
Lieng said that it was clear for them that he “had a purpose” and was not alone there — which, as many believe, sometimes turns out to be a case of racial profiling.
The original video made by Lieng has clear evidence that the officer repeatedly forcefully pushing Johnson back in the bench while calling for backup. While the victim mentions he had no reason to be detained, the police officer claims that he “put his hands” on him and hit his arm.
Two more officers, a man and a woman, rush at the scene and handcuff Johnson. The female officer repeatedly tells him to take a deep breath, to which he responds that there too many police here and that he won’t be able to calm down or take a deep breath.
Further, into the recording, the first officer informs Johnson that now he is under arrest for 241(c), “assaulting a peace officer,” before escorting him away.
Johnson says that he thinks the recent tragic death of George Floyd, a black man smothered by a white cop, affected his own arrest. “I feel like the climate is just that: we’re not taking that no more. You know? Harassment from police — abuse of power.”
Then the recording of the controversial arrest shot by Lieng went viral, and LMPD issued an official commentary, claiming that they were checking the incident, and that “the City has caused a special investigation.”
“The Special Investigator has already been selected, and his appointment is pending the execution of a special services agreement which will be published for everyone’s review when available,” the statement reads.