A troubling video from La Mesa, California, that surfaced this week and quickly went viral, shows a white police officer confronting a black 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.
“My friends live in these apartments [near the Grossmont Trolley Station on Fletcher Parkway]. He’s [the officer] saying, “Are you waiting for the bus?” I said, no, I’m waiting for my friends.”
Lieng added that it was clear for them that the officer “had a purpose” and was waiting outside for someone he may deem suspicious — which, as many believe, sometimes turns out to be a case of racial profiling.
The original six-minute video filmed by Lieng shows the officer repeatedly forcefully pushing Johnson back in the bench while calling for backup. While Johnson is heard saying he had no reason to be detained, the 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.
“I already know what it is — I’m black as f—-k out here. That’s what the issue is. It’s all good, I get it.” he says. “That’s what the issue is. You let [them] abuse their power like that — who knows who’s next.”
Further, into the video, the first officer informs Johnson that he is being arrested 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.”
After the video of the controversial arrest shot by Lieng went viral, LMPD issued a statement, claiming that they were reviewing and 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 released for public review when available,” the statement reads.