Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Public Safety

Woman Struck By Rubber Bullet At La Mesa Protest Files Lawsuit

San Diego Sheriff's Department deploying tear gas into the crowd of protesters in front of the La Mesa Police Department Headquarters on May 30, 2020.
Max Rivlin-Nadler
San Diego Sheriff's Department deploying tear gas into the crowd of protesters in front of the La Mesa Police Department Headquarters on May 30, 2020.

A woman who alleges she was struck by a law enforcement projectile during last year's contentious protest at La Mesa police headquarters is suing the city, San Diego County and the officers allegedly involved.

Michelle Horton alleges in a complaint filed Friday in San Diego federal court that she was standing on the corner of Spring Street and University Avenue on May 30 when "out of the blue," a group of officers drove by and shot her in the chest with a rubber bullet, "causing serious physical injury, pain and suffering, and humiliation."

At the time she was struck, Horton was waiting for her children, who were protesting with others, according to her court papers. Horton was unarmed at the time and was "not engaged in any criminal, raucous or destructive activity; did not pose any threat of harm to anyone; and was not resisting or fleeing arrest," the suit says.

Among the defendants named in the complaint are the city of La Mesa, San Diego County, "unknown San Diego Sheriff's Department personnel" and "unknown La Mesa Police Department personnel."

Several others struck by "less-than-lethal" law enforcement projectiles during the protest previously filed lawsuits, including Leslie Furcron, was shot in the forehead with a beanbag projectile in the police department parking lot.

Furcron sued the city and the officer who fired the projectile, Detective Eric Knudson, saying she continues to suffer from a loss of vision in one eye and neurological issues.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office cleared Knudson of potential criminal liability, stating Knudson believed Furcron was throwing a rock at San Diego County sheriff's deputies who had formed a skirmish line across the parking lot, though the object turned out to be an aluminum can. Furcron alleged in her suit that she threw the can at the ground and nowhere near any officers.

Other lawsuits were also filed by Delane Hurley, a 51-year-old woman who alleges she was walking through downtown La Mesa when she stopped to watch the rally unfolding, then was shot in the face by a police projectile, and Tyler Astorga, 18, who alleges he was shot in the head by a beanbag projectile while driving away from the protest.