Woman who was shot with police projectile in La Mesa protest sues officer, city

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SAN DIEGO – Leslie Furcon, a La Mesa woman left bloodied on the pavement after being shot in the forehead by a police officer’s bean bag round at a protest in May, has sued the officer, accusing him of battery and claiming he violated her rights.

In a complaint filed Dec. 8, Furcron argues that Detective Eric Knudson “celebrated” after his round struck her between her eyes during a May 30 protest. Furcron, 59, was hospitalized after the incident, remaining in a medically induced coma for several days until the projectile was removed from her skull, according to the suit.

More than six months after the incident, Furcron says she continues to suffer “neurological symptoms, permanent facial scarring, and loss of vision” in her left eye.

Knudson remains on administrative leave as of Monday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The lawsuit contends Knudson violated city law enforcement practices. She alleges he fired the projectiles into a large crowd from a distance, aiming the round at a target’s head — rather than the arms or legs — and firing them using a shotgun with a “widely known lack of accuracy.”

Furcron had joined many others in protesting what some say was a racially motivated arrest of Amaurie Johnson near the Grossmont Trolley Station. Johnson’s arrest came in the heat of a national reckoning on policing and race after the high-profile deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others.

A city review panel recently upheld the firing of former Officer Matthew Dages, who forcefully apprehended Johnson in the May 27 incident. Johnson also sued the city and several members of the police department.

Furcron, who lives near the La Mesa Police Department headquarters, said in the suit she was shot by Knudson within about five minutes of her arrival.

The incident — much of which she streamed on her Facebook account — came after she discarded a small can of energy drink on the ground, her lawsuit alleges. Police footage of the incident shows that Knudson said, “That was the guy who was throwing things,” referring to Furcron.

“(Furcron) – a female – had not thrown any objects before discarding the Red Bull can,” the suit reads.

She is seeking unspecified damages and has demanded a jury trial.

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