Woman Shot In Head By La Mesa Police With Bean Bag Round Speaks Out
A San Diego woman who was shot in the head by a bean bag round from a La Mesa police officer during a protest last month spoke Wednesday for the first time publicly since the incident.
"I'm a productive member of society. I go to San Diego City College. I was, that's changed, working on a bachelor’s degree as social service worker. I'm also in recovery,” Leslie Furcron, 59, said in a frail voice. “I'm a law-abiding citizen."
Furcron said she would never have gone to the protest to have this experience become a part of her life story. Furcron captured the May 30 incident while live streaming the protest on her Facebook page.
She was released from the hospital Tuesday after being in the intensive-care unit in a medically induced coma since the incident on May 30. She was using a walker and need help from her family to walk in front of La Mesa City Hall to speak to reporters.
Furcron also expressed thanks to the nurses and doctors at Sharp Grossmont and Sharp Memorial hospitals.
Her attorney, Dante Pride said the La Mesa Police Department is refusing to name the officer involved in the incident, despite a state law — SB 1421 — which allows public access to police records. The law allows police departments to delay disclosing records related to open investigations.
“This is yet another example of why we need change, why we need something different,” Pride said.
On Tuesday, the La Mesa Police Department released a 12-page timeline of what happened leading up to the riot and looting on May 30 and 31.
At a news conference Tuesday, La Mesa police Chief Walt Vasquez said all the information will be released eventually, including the name of the officer who shot Furcron. Just not right now.
He also said officers began deploying tear gas and bean bag rounds at protesters after things were thrown at them. Referring to Furcron, he said he believed a can was thrown at officers.
Furcron’s children denied the allegation. Pride said Furcron threw a can on the ground but he said she didn’t have the strength for it to hit any officers from where she was standing.
“They’ve admitted that officer fired in retaliation for what he thought was Ms. Furcron throwing an object,” he said. It was unclear if Furcron threw anything at officers or if anything hit an officer because the timeline provided was one-sided, he said.
Vazquez released a statement Wednesday assuring the Furcron family that the matter will be fully investigated and asking for the community to come together.
“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,” Vasquez said in the statement. “I can assure Ms. 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.’
“The men and women of the La Mesa Police Department work tirelessly to provide quality and professional police services for all members of our community,” he added. “Our hope is that we will all come together to heal the wounds, nurture a culture of open communication, and make the City of La Mesa a better and safer place to live.”