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LA MESA (CNS) – La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez said Wednesday the department will review its crowd-control practices as part of its investigation into an officer-fired projectile that injured a woman who attended a protest against police brutality.

La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez answer questions during a tense news conference Wednesday.
La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez answer questions during a tense news conference Wednesday.

Vasquez issued a statement saying that he wanted to assure 59-year-old Leslie Furcron, “her family and the public that this unfortunate incident will be fully investigated, to include an in-depth look at our crowd control practices.”

“I am sincerely thankful that Ms. Furcron has been released from the hospital and is able to now heal at home with her family. I pray that she has a speedy and full recovery,” the chief said.

Furcron was outside police headquarters with a crowd of fellow protesters when she was struck in the forehead by what her attorney, Dante Pride, described as a “flying blackjack” and a “metal projectile bean bag” during the evening of May 30, leaving her hospitalized in an intensive-care unit in a medically induced coma. Pride said she suffered skull fractures and still has not regained sight in one of her eyes.

In her first appearance since being released from a hospital this week, Furcon, accompanied by her attorney, said she felt “very, very weak,” and described herself as “a law-abiding citizen.”

Speaking outside La Mesa City Hall, Pride said legal action will be taken against the La Mesa Police Department, but his office is working to gather additional details regarding Furcron’s medical recovery before filing suit.

“There is no reason why Ms. Furcron should have to shoulder the burden of these injuries — of no fault of her own — by herself,” said Pride, who told reporters that the police department “should be held liable for the damage that they caused.”

Pride previously held a news conference with Furcron’s sons, Ahmad and Azim, to demand that the officer involved be identified, fired and criminally charged.

He expressed frustration Wednesday that the department had not identified the officer, despite numerous requests from the public and the La Mesa City Council.

“We were upset with the city of La Mesa, but now we understand that even the city of La Mesa is being held hostage by the La Mesa Police Department,” Pride said.

The attorney also took issue with a “self-serving timeline” of the May 30 protest released this week by the police department, which he said falsely insinuated that Furcron threw an object at officers.

Pride said his client called the officers “murderers” and threw a soda can at the ground, but denied that she threw anything at an officer.

“There is nothing she could have done, there is nothing on camera anywhere, that will show that she made an officer of La Mesa Police Department either fear for their life or injured them,” Pride said.