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Border Rally Brawl: Deputies accused of slow response to rally violence

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Sheriff’s Deputies have been accused of being slow to break up a violent brawl that broke out at a border wall rally in Otay Mesa over the weekend.

On Tuesday, both sides shared their stories with the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board.

After hearing both sides of the border wall protest, the Citizen Review Board will now consider arguments made about how well deputies broke up the violence.

“When he [border wall supporter] punched me in the cheek, the plastic broke and lacerated my face,” he said.

William Johnson said he was protesting the rally Saturday in a Guy Fawkes mask when, according to him, border wall supporters swarmed his side and picked the fight.

According to Johnson, after a punch was thrown chaos ensued. He shared his scar and his story with the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board.

Johnson claims San Diego Sheriff Deputies took too long to respond and let the fight go on.

“They were not even protecting us really – at all for a good portion of it. The fight was going on for almost two minutes before it actually started,” he said.

According to a woman who also attended Tuesday’s review board, it was Johnson who started the violence. She claims deputies did their job well.

The woman refused to go on camera with News 8.

Johnson said he wants the board to take action. He is also considering filing a lawsuit against San Diego County.

The length of the fight was just over a minute. San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said both sides refused to press charges; however, they will continue to review video.

There is a victim that may file a report, according to the department.

In a statement to News 8, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said:

On December 9th, there was a rally at the United States/Mexico border. Some of the people attending the rally were there to support increased border security and others were there to express their opposing viewpoints. Each group was afforded an area to assemble and to express their opinions. At some point, several members from each group circumvented security measures and there was a physical confrontation. Deputies take action when a crime is observed or reported. In this case, Deputies responded when they observed the altercation and intervened. Maintaining a safe place for people to express their opinions is our highest priority. At the time of the incident, no arrests were made and none of the involved parties desired criminal prosecution. However, the incident is still being investigated and we have identified a victim who is working with us to file a report. We are currently reviewing available video and conducting an internal debrief to ensure safe and efficient responses for future events.

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