Matthew Dages: Cop accused of lying in report of Black man's arrest says he 'lost everything'
Matthew Dages was accused of lying about the circumstances of his arrest of Amaurie Johnson on May 27, 2020, which created outrage in San Diego after a video of the arrest went viral. The La Mesa Police Department fired Dages months after the arrest. If convicted, he would have faced a sentence of three years in prison. A jury in El Cajon debated for slightly over a day before finding the defendant not guilty on December 10.
According to prosecutors, Johnson was found with a smartphone but no lighter, cigarettes, or other smoking tools. Dages was obviously aware that the area in which Johnson was standing was not a fee-paying zone, according to deputy district attorney Fiona Dunleavy, and that Dages had previously contacted individuals for ticket violations and led them to the area near where he encountered Johnson.
According to defence attorney Joshua Visco, the prosecution has not proven that Dages misled in any aspect of the report.
Dages is seen on video shoving Johnson into a seated posture and then pushing him down once he stands up. Johnson allegedly balled his fists and took a "bladed stance" towards Dages, according to Dages' report, which prosecutors and Johnson denied. Johnson was detained and charged with assault on an officer, as well as refusing, delaying, and obstructing an officer, before being released on a minor citation. The police department eventually announced that Johnson, who filed a federal complaint against Dages and La Mesa, would not be charged.
Former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher is raising money for former La Mesa police officer Matthew Dages, who was fired and charged with filing a false report over his May arrest of Amaurie Johnson. Video of the arrest led to protests in La Mesa, including the one on May 30. pic.twitter.com/2QARMp5bxa— Andrew Dyer (@andrewpdyer) January 6, 2021
Dages said he "lost everything" after his reputation was destroyed on "The Ingraham Angle" on Tuesday. Due to Black Lives Matter demonstrators walking by, Dages stated he was forced to sell his home.
Dages said, "I describe it to people that I've lost everything, to be honest. I've lost my career. My family was under this terror for the last year and a half now. Thankfully, we've come out victorious on that end. … And also on top of that, … my wife [and I] were set back about $100,000 in legal fees. So we've been put through the wringer in the name of justice."
He continued, "It was terrifying for my whole family. It wasn't a safe place for me to be in or for my family to be anymore. You never think that your home is going to be somewhere that is going to be under attack."
@IngrahamAngle I’m with you! Do something for Matthew Dages! How can people help? Thank you for highlighting his story.— Manfred North Peigan (@Northman817) February 9, 2022
He finally concluded, "My focus is getting back into uniform, and that's something that I have [focused on] and still am doing. My wife and I are fighting to do that. We still are going through the court process to get me reinstated, to get my back pay, to get basically my life back and to really clear my name from any wrongdoing here."
Dages at present remains unemployed.
Former Officer Matthew Dages should move to Florida. Ron DeSantis will give him a job. #LauraIngraham— SP (@StaceyPaige27) February 9, 2022