Riot aftermath here in La Mesa, California: Murals by local artists cover smashed storefronts 📷

About 10 days ago a video went viral of Amaurie Johnson, a young African-American man, apparently being bullied by police at a transit station here in La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego where Julie and I live.

Charges dropped against Amaurie Johnson after controversial arrest in La Mesa www.cbs8.com/article/n…

As I understand it, the incident was, sadly, unremarkable. The kind of thing African-Americans have to go through every day. Nobody was injured physically. But coming on the heels of Floyd George’s murder, the incident struck a spark. People protested in La Mesa Village, and the protests turned to riot, looting and arson. Two banks were burned down, and many storefronts were smashed.

This is bonkers. La Mesa is a sleepy little suburban village. The kind of place you go for Sunday brunch and then a little window-shopping in boutiques. And even then, you wouldn’t come from very far to get to La Mesa. It’s a lovely little village but nothing special. Nowhere you expect riots.

We could hear the rioting in our living room window Saturday night. We had no idea what was going on; we thought it was Saturday night traffic on the highway, which is close enough to our house that we frequently hear traffic going by. That’s a little spooky and resulted in my compulsively checking the news every few hours for days.

The rioting spread from the village to the nearby La Mesa Springs Shopping Center, which is just a few hundred feet away from the village. That shopping center is anchored by a big Vons supermarket, where I shop frequently.

Following the riots, the very next morning, the community came together to clean up the village and shopping center, and make temporary repairs. Artists decorated plate-glass windows. I stopped by La Mesa Springs yesterday to see what it looked like.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner