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Public Safety

Video Shows San Diego Police Officer Threatening To Shoot Protesters During Arrest

San Diego police officers stand guard on Broadway near State Street in front of City Hall amid protests, May 31, 2020.
KPBS Staff
San Diego police officers stand guard on Broadway near State Street in front of City Hall amid protests, May 31, 2020.

On Thursday, more than a thousand people marched from downtown to North Park and back protesting police abuse of black people in America.

But after the march, which went off without incident, a disturbing video shows the arrest of a female protester downtown by several men, who don’t identify themselves before whisking her away, in unmarked minivans.

The video does not show the men identifying what law enforcement group they’re with. What it does show is one individual threatening to shoot other protesters if they follow the minivans.

“If you follow us, you will get shot. Do you understand me?” said one officer, as protesters ask why the woman is being arrested.

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In a statement to KPBS, the San Diego Police Department confirmed that the officers involved were plainclothes detectives. They said that a detective in a nearby minivan witnessed a woman step off of the sidewalk and swing a cardboard sign at a passing motorcycle officer. Officers then decided to place her under arrest.

"Due to the large crowd still in the area, the detectives felt the need to immediately leave the area. Several members of our SWAT team also arrived as the arrest was being made and prepared to de-escalate the situation," the statement said.

SDPD is standing behind the warning that was issued to the other protesters.

"Police officers are trained to announce the use of force whenever possible,” it continued.

The woman, who has not been identified, was charged with assault on a police officer and taken to county jail.

Video Shows San Diego Police Officer Threatening To Shoot Protesters During Arrest
Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.