LA MESA, Calif. — New video and internal police reports from the La Mesa protests and riots in May 2020 have been made public.
Helicopter video captured the shooting of a grandmother by police with a beanbag round and reveals possible discrepancies and unanswered questions about the incident.
From the moment officers first deployed tear gas in the parking lot of the La Mesa Police Department, a San Diego Police Department helicopter recorded video from above as the May 30 protests unfolded.
The shooting of grandmother Leslie Furcron was captured live and posted on Facebook during the protests. It showed her being hit in the forehead with the beanbag round and then falling to the ground.
The new video (seen below) shows protesters carrying the 59-year-old to a van that then took her to the hospital.
The La Mesa Police officer, Eric Knudson -- who fired the beanbag round from a patio about 100 feet away -- has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the San Diego County District Attorney and La Mesa Police. Both agencies determined he fired the round to protect nearby officers.
Furcron has filed a lawsuit against the City of La Mesa and Detective Knudson.
Her attorney, Dante Pride, said his client presented no threat to officers by tossing an empty soda can towards San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies staging in the parking lot.
“They were much too far away from her to ever be impacted by anything she could have thrown,” Pride said.
The attorney questioned La Mesa Police diagrams, released publicly, that claimed Furcron was 77 feet away from the deputy line when she tossed the can.
“I saw Ms. Furcron 100 feet or more away from anybody that could have been impacted by anything that she could have thrown, which we know was an empty can and she was throwing it away,” Pride said.
The helicopter video clearly shows the position of the deputies in the parking lot, the location where Furcron was standing, and the patio where Detective Knudson fired the beanbag round from a less-lethal shotgun weapon.
Based on that video, News 8 measured the distance and discovered Furcron was about 105 feet away from the deputies.
“It makes the officers out of reach for her, so there was no need to use any force,” said Pride.
The newly-released reports also reveal Knudson was not properly trained to use the beanbag shotgun, because the weapon did not belong to the La Mesa Police Department.
Instead, the shotgun belonged to the sheriff's department and during all the ruckus of the protests, the weapon was handed-off between a deputy and police officers.
The sheriff’s less-lethal shotgun had different sights than the ones used by the La Mesa Police Department.
Additionally, investigators could not determine what type of beanbag round was fired, according to a consultant’s report written by R.K Miller, with National Training Concepts.
Miller reviewed the evidence in the case presented his finding to the City of La Mesa.
The report also concluded that the sheriff’s shotgun used by Knudson has not been identified and, in effect, is missing in action.
“The [San Diego County Sheriff Department’s] shotgun’s chain of custody after its use is a serious matter,” Miller wrote. “This is especially relevant if the two weapons had different sighting systems as is the case here.”
“The shogun that shot this shell out into Ms. Furcron's head is now unable to be located,” said Pride, the woman’s attorney.
Detective Knudson is back on the job at the La Mesa Police Department. The public records released included documents that indicate Knudson had served as a racial profiling instructor in 2019.
News 8 reached out to La Mesa Police and a spokesperson, Lt. Greg Runge, emailed us the following statement:
"The La Mesa Police Department will not be making further comment on this investigation at this time due to pending litigation on the matter.
I do want to bring to your attention that it was recently realized that an earlier draft, not the final version, of the National Training Concepts report was inadvertently released last week along with the other records. We are working to correct the error on the website as I write this, and the final version is attached to this email as well. I call your attention to information on pages 9-12 that was not included in the earlier version. I apologize for this error."
The report posted on this page is the updated report referenced in the statement above. The draft version of the report is posted here.
WATCH: Leslie Furcron calls for change after beanbag round injury