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San Diego activist discusses charges filed against former La Mesa police officer while recovering from COVID-19

Tasha Williamson is relieved that charges were filed but there’s more work to be done and she’s going to need a lot of extra strength while recovering from COVID-19.

SAN DIEGO — A local activist that pushed for former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages to be fired, is now speaking out about charges being filed against him.

Social Justice Activist Tasha Williamson says she was relieved that charges were filed but there’s more work to be done and she’s going to need a lot of extra strength to do it.

Officer Matthew Dages was fired in August from the La Mesa Police Dept and charged for filing a false report on Monday. A video of the arrest went viral and Dages was charged after being accused of lying about why he arrested 23-year old Amaurie Johnson.

“Although I’m glad that he is being charged, there are so many people outside of Amaurie Johnson, who were likely traumatized by this officer, that all of his cases should be reviewed,” Williamson said.

RELATED: Former La Mesa police officer charged with filing false police report of controversial arrest

She says she credits San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephen for bringing the charges but says there’s a long history of police not being held responsible for excessive behavior.

“This is not the first officer. This has been going on for so long, for generations,” Williamson said.

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Williamson says she’s going to continue fighting for justice and police reform but right now, she’s focused on a different battle: recovering from Coronavirus. She was diagnosed on Christmas Eve and was hospitalized for over a week.

“The nurses saved me. The nurses and the health professionals that came in and out of my room. They had me get up, they had me walk around, they kept searching for my veins because even my veins were collapsing,” Williamson said.

She says she still has to receive oxygen to breathe but says after nearly dying from COVID-19, she has a new message.

“Everybody needs to be cautious and careful because your life may not be in jeopardy but your mother, your father, your grandmother or your child’s, could because children are dying,” Williamson said.

Williamson, who was once a candidate for San Diego Mayor, says when she gets her health back, she plans to apply to be the Executive Director of Measure B’s Police Accountability Commission.