On Jan. 6, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office announce that La Mesa Police Detective Eric Knudson, who fired a beanbag round that struck and injured a woman during the May 30 protest will not face charges.
The peaceful protest turned violent as many protesters gathered at the La Mesa Police Department, which later turned into protesters throwing water and glass bottles and rocks the size of baseball towards officers and the police station. Windows to the police dispatch were shattered by thrown rocks and civilian dispatchers requested police assistance according the press release.
Knudson was one of the officers who responded, positioned on the patio outside the dispatch center to safeguard the civilian dispatchers and critical operations. Along with other officers, they used a concrete wall as protection. Flash band devices and gas canisters were deployed to disperse the crown. According to the report, Knudson fired one beanbag round at a protester who was attempting to throw a gas canister back at the police. Knudson saw another protester, Leslie Furcron, 59, throw an object and fired a beanbag round at her. The report states that Furcron was about 96 feet away and she was struck in the head, fell to the ground. A large crowd gathered around her and within minutes, people moved Furcron to a vehicle where she was transported to the hospital by civilians.
“Detective Knudson mistakenly believed Ms. Furcron had thrown a rock,” it stated in the DA’s review. “Ms. Furcron threw a can and not a rock, but his belief was not unreasonable given the totality of the circumstances the officers were dealing with, placed in the context of the violent riot taking place at his location, fires set at City Hall, and other information that informed his actions.”
“The fact that Ms. Furcron suffered serious injuries is a tragedy, however, the law and the evidence do not support a finding that Detective Knudsen committed a crime in this case,” case finding continued. “What began as peaceful protest turned into a riot, resulting in danger to the civilians in the crowd, civilian dispatchers, the police station, officers and deputies. Some rioters set fires, escalating the overall sense of danger and imminent threat. The DA’s review concluded that amid the violent riot that had broken out and the attacks on Sheriff’s deputies and officers, Knudson was acting in defense of others and himself when he fired the beanbag round. Under the totality of the circumstances and analysis of the law, Knudson therefore bears no state criminal liability for his actions.”
The La Mesa Police Department stated that it is aware of the DA’s announcement regarding Knudson.
“We will now be working to complete our internal administrative review of the incident,” stated in an email. “Detective Knudson remains on paid administrative leave pending the results of that review.”
The entire findings of the District Attorney’s investigation and findings can be found at http://bit.ly/DAKnudson.