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Charges dropped against Amaurie Johnson after controversial arrest in La Mesa

All charges against Johnson, who is 23, have been dropped.

LA MESA, Calif. — Days after releasing body cam footage of a controversial arrest near a trolley station, La Mesa Police Department on Friday announced it had done a full review of all the evidence in the criminal investigation against Amaurie Johnson and would not seek prosecution against him. 

Further, all charges against Johnson, who is 23, have also been dropped.

"After a full review of all of the evidence in the criminal investigation against Amaurie Johnson ... the La Mesa Police Department has decided it will not be seeking prosecution of Mr. Johnson on any of the alleged misdemeanor charges (he was arrested for)," LMPD Lt. Greg Runge said late this afternoon.

In cellphone video images that prompted widespread condemnation on social media, the La Mesa police officer, whose name has not been made public, can be seen pushing Johnson, 23, into a seated position on a bench and grabbing his arm as the two men argued on May 27.

During a news conference this week, La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez told reporters Johnson initially was contacted for smoking in public, which is illegal in that area, before being arrested on suspicion of assault on an officer and resisting arrest. Johnson ultimately was released on a misdemeanor citation, Vasquez said.

Johnson told reporters he had no smoking materials at the time of the confrontation and was simply waiting in the area for a friend to pick him up when the officer approached.

Many members of the public have decried the incident as an outrageous example of racial profiling. Three days after it took place, a large crowd staged a raucous anti-police-brutality demonstration outside La Mesa City Hall in reaction to Johnson's arrest and the in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd of Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

The rally devolved into violence, looting and arson fires that destroyed several commercial buildings.

Amid the chaos, a La Mesa grandmother, 59-year-old Leslie Furcron, suffered severe injuries when she was struck in the forehead with a rubber bullet. She was hospitalized in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma, according to her family, who said she may lose an eye due to the ordeal.

Investigations into both incidents by "an independent reviewer" have been initiated, city officials told news crews during the news conference on Wednesday.

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