La Mesa Residents Share Thoughts on the Amaurie Johnson Case


Voice & Viewpoint Staff

We journeyed in and around La Mesa this week and asked La Mesa residents, ”What are your thoughts about the Amaurie Johnson case?” A controversial video of Johnson, 23, being arrested May 27 at an apartment complex adjacent to the Grossmont Trolley Station went viral over social media. Johnson was arrested just two days after the tragic police-custody death of George Floyd was caught on video and images of Floyd’s death swept the country. Though Johnson was arrested for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, the video showed no evidence of the charge. The video of Johnson’s arrest, in part, sparked the protests that erupted in front of the La Mesa Police Department just days later. La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez announced Friday, June 5, that all charges against Johnson would be dropped.

Here’s what was on the minds of three La Mesa residents when asked about the Amaurie Johnson case:

Security Guard Dave Johnson

Security Guard Dave Johnson has been temporarily standing post of the La Mesa Vons. Although he isn’t a resident of La Mesa, Johnson believes there was an unconscious bias used against Amauri Johnson. When asked if there was something more he thinks LMPD should do in this situation besides just dropping the charges…he believes that the de-escalation methods would work better than the anger management training. Dave stated, “All officers of the law should be trained to recognize when they are having preconceived biases against the people they are approaching. And that training should be done on a national level, and not just the state and local.” Johnson believes that any person upholding the law should have training to eradicate racism within law enforcement practices.

Master Taylor

Master Taylor owns the Taekwondo studio in the La Mesa shopping center. Taylor has been there for about 4 to 5 years and says that he is really careful in how he approaches situations that he finds himself in and says he has never run into any problems. When asked if something more could be done in the case of Amaurie, Taylor explained, “Discipline needs to be taught at the higher level within the leadership of the officers on the ground.” Taylor said he would be available and open to talking to the leaders of La Mesa PD to give them training on being more disciplined and less violent in their actions.

Friends Nilah and Aniya, 19 and 17

17-year-old Aniya believes, had Amauri Johnson been any other race, he wouldn’t have been pushed around and man handled as he was by the La Mesa Police Officer. 19-year-old Aniya said she doesn’t even think it would have been a problem had Amauri been a different race. Aniya believes it’s really sad for it to be a problem for the La Mesa PD to have so much hate in their heart because of the color of somebody’s skin. “It would not have been a problem if they had another skin color,” friends Nilah and Aniya concluded. Aniya said further, “The world is diversifying and a lot of people are stuck in the same mindsets and I feel like it is within the system and that there may be Sergeants and trainers that teach racism. It’s a problem from within themselves that they need to work on from the inside out.”

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