Rioters burned La Mesa a year ago after a confrontation between a Black young man and police officer. The young man, Amaurie Johnson, was falsely accused of illegal smoking at an outdoor train station, never charged, and the police officer was fired and charged with felony lying on a police report.
Johnson says if a bystander hadn’t recorded the encounter, his life would be very different.
“I would be charged right now, it would be my word versus his,” Johnson, 24, said during an interview last week, pausing for several seconds to contemplate the idea. “That’s pretty much the status quo with policing policies in America. Nobody holds (officers) accountable unless you force them to (with video evidence).”