I do remember like that's when his hands started getting towards my my my neck area and. Things of that nature just escalated even more. It was an arrest that sparked outrage and major protests. Now the trial of a former La Mesa police officer at the center of it is underway in East County and the man he arrested is testifying about what happened. Good evening and thank you for joining us. I'm Carlo cecchetto. Matthew Daegis was like go from the La Mesa Police Department following the controversial arrest of Amari Johnson back in May of 2020, which led to violent protests in Lamesa. Dagesh is accused of falsifying a police report related to that arrest. Opening statements. In the trial began today this afternoon, Johnson took the stand. Neuzeit Shannon Handy has more from the El Cahone courthouse. Ben arrest was captured on video and sparked outrage in Lamesa.
Now, while many people feel as though Daegis should face charges for his actions during that incident, this trial centers around whether or not he lied about why he confronted and later arrested Amari Johnson. I was just very uncomfortable with the whole situation. Amari Johnson took the stand Wednesday testifying about the day former La Mesa police officer Matthew Davis arrested him back in May of 2020 outside an apartment complex near the Grossmont trolley station. He asked me a whole bunch of questions and a lot of them were the same questions over and over again. Johnson told jurors stages questioned him about what he was doing and told him he couldn't smoke in that area. Johnson says he doesn't smoke, telling daegis he was simply waiting for his friends. But when he tried to leave things escalated. He was putting his hands around my neck. He was grabbing me just putting his hands on me. Several witnesses took cell phone video of the incident saying they just appeared to be the aggressor when the young man stood up.
Then the officer put his hands on his shoulders and pushed him back down in a sitting position, but dangerous. His actions during the incident or in on trial. It's what he wrote in a police report after day, just so is reportedly taking part in a fair compliance operation with other officers and claimed he initially contacted Johnson for smoking in public and failing to have a trolley fare while being in a quote fair paid zone. Daegis, his defense attorney said, from his vantage point, Johnson was holding what appeared to be a smoking device and was in an area where people cannot loiter without affair or bus pass. He also argued Johnson was being combative and threatened. Age is something they just reported as well. When you take off the progressive lens. And you look at the facts of the case. You're going to see that officer Dagis absolutely submitted a 100% truthful and accurate report. Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner says Johnson was across the street from the trolley platform holding a cell phone.
No cigarettes wherever found. No smoke, no cigarette, no vape, nothing. In cell phone videos, you can hear Johnson yell expletives, but witnesses who took the stand say he never fought back. Johnson was arrested on suspicion of assault of an officer as well as resisting, delaying and obstructing an officer. He was eventually released and no charges were ever filed, though videos of the arrest sparked riots in La Mesa. Trial continues tomorrow if found guilty. Daegis faces three years in prison..