Former police officer charged with falsifying arrest report

Recorded on police body cam video arresting an innocent man without probable cause, a former California police officer was recently charged with a felony count of falsifying a police report.

On May 27, 2020, La Mesa Police Officer
Matt Dages approached Amaurie Johnson near a trolley station in Grossmont,
California. Despite the fact that Officer Dages did not have any probable cause
to detain Johnson, police body cam footage revealed Dages
grabbing Johnson by the arm and throwing him onto a bench.

Johnson attempted to explain that
he had been sitting on the bench waiting for his friends to pick him up and
that Dages had no reason to detain him. Instead of allowing Johnson to leave
when his friends arrived, Dages handcuffed his hands behind his back and placed
him under arrest.

According to the video, Johnson did
not fight back. He was arrested on suspicion of assault on an officer and
resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer.

Dages falsely accused Johnson of smoking in public in order to justify probable cause for detaining him. But according to the video and the other officers, no drugs or any drug paraphernalia were found at the scene.

After reviewing several police body cam videos of the incident, prosecutors dropped the charges against Johnson. In July 2020, Johnson filed a lawsuit alleging negligence, excessive force, violence, and arrest without probable cause against the city of La Mesa and the arresting officers.

Dages was placed on leave while
under investigation. On August 7, 2020, he was fired from the La Mesa Police

On Monday, the San Diego District
Attorney’s Office announced that Dages has been charged with a felony count of
falsifying the police report in Johnson’s arrest.

is accused of falsifying the reason for Johnson’s detention as well as his
actions,” San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a written statement.Everyone is accountable under the law
and as we’ve done previously, we will file criminal charges when they are
supported by facts and evidence. My office’s Special Operations division of
specialized prosecutors and investigators is dedicated to the principles of
conducting fair, thorough and independent reviews of public corruption and
police misconduct cases with the goal of enhancing public trust and pursuing

La Mesa Acting Chief of Police Ray
Sweeney issued the following statement: “We have worked closely with the San
Diego District Attorney’s Office over the past several months on this matter.
The La Mesa Police Department holds each and every member of the Department to
the highest standards of integrity in order to protect and serve our community
and keep its trust.”

In a social media post, Johnson
wrote, “I’m thankful for the DA’s decision to pursue charges against former
officer Dages. Now it’s time for this drawn out legal process. I’ll do my part
to make sure there is justice. Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”

If convicted, Dages could face up to three years in prison.


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