La Mesa police in spotlight and El Cajon lifts ordinance

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The video of a La Mesa police officer body slamming a 17-year-old Helix High School student to the ground while in handcuffs has gone viral. The video clips are short and do not represent what happened before the incident, but in looking at the short video it is evident why the local community is outraged by what they do see.

The video of a La Mesa police officer body slamming a 17-year-old Helix High School student to the ground while in handcuffs has gone viral. The video clips are short and do not represent what happened before the incident, but in looking at the short video it is evident why the local community is outraged by what they do see.

It is disturbing to say the least to watch. Although she was reportedly resisting removal from the campus, allegedly charged being on drugs (no drugs found after searching) and asked to leave the school for having a weapon (pepper spray), it is difficult to understand what circumstance, other than resistance that made the police officer decide to use such brutal force. It seems that with the student in handcuffs already that there had to be a better way of getting the student under control. I did not see any backup in the two videos shot, but there should have been. Two officers could have gotten the student in control without this use of force. Helix students walked out of classes in protest on Monday for the use of excessive force on one of their classmates. Good for you. If you are correct, you have every right to protest in peace and bring awareness to what is going on in your school and community.

If we as citizens, parents were to be seen doing anything in this manner to a minor, we would be locked up, charged with assault, child endangerment and a plethora of charges. As parents, it has gotten so bad that we have to think before swatting our children in public for the fear of being reported for child abuse. Why is then acceptable for a police officer to use a trained combat maneuver when a young person simply resist an arrest? We will have to wait for a full report from the La Mesa Police Department, but so far the evidence is looking pretty damning for the police officer involved. This is one reason that body cameras are so necessary for all law enforcement. It can make the difference between fact and fiction if we can see the entire altercation.

This incident needs to be investigated thoroughly with clarity and transparency. If excessive force is determined, there should be repercussions for the officer just as there would be for any other citizen. 

In El Cajon on Wednesday the City of El Cajon’s food sharing ordinance expired after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors decided not to extend the Hepatitis A public health emergency. “During the time that food sharing was restricted, local charities and community groups coordinated in their food sharing efforts. The City encourages community groups to continue their valuable service to our community through the collaborative approach,” stated the press release.

I have been tough on El Cajon for this policy, but there have been some interesting and thought provoking ideas, especially from Mayor Bill Wells. And in many cases he is right as far as the steps that El Cajon has done in tackling the homeless population in general and the spread of the hepatitis A outbreak. One thing he said made me think twice is when he said that the groups that were planning the public sharing of food at Wells Park was in major part a political move.

So my question is to the Samaritans that stood up during the ban, like Food not Bombs San Diego is are you going to continue to help the homeless here in East County in a collaborative effort, or just move on to your next staged activist event? Now that the ban is expired, you have the chance to work collaboratively with the city to really make a difference. Are you willing to do this or was this a one-time grandstand to get your name out there?

I’m very interested in what your next steps are. Just because the ban is lifted, doesn’t mean that the need is met. So I’m hoping that you stand behind everything that you said you believe in and continue. This time, not in protest, but in collaboration.

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