KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.
Woman Shot In Head By La Mesa Police With Bean Bag Round Speaks Out: ‘I’m A Productive Member Of Society’
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / June 10, 2020
Leslie Furcron was in a medically induced coma in the intensive-care unit while being treated for her injury. She expressed thanks to the nurses and doctors at Sharp Grossmont and Sharp Memorial hospitals but said she is a law-abiding citizen who was expressing her right to protest.
Speaker 1: 00:00 A woman's struck in the face by a projectile fired by a Lamesa police officer during a protest against police brutality. Last month is out of the hospital and spoke briefly during a press conference this morning.
Speaker 2: 00:11 And I never had came out here that night for this to be a part of nice story. And I just wanted to say, thank you. I want to thank my family. Thank all those that are instrumental help.
Speaker 1: 00:26 Leslie, for Crohn's spent a week in the ICU and a medically induced coma. Her family is considering legal action. Joining us now is her attorney denti pride denti. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. How has ms. [inaudible] doing now? Uh, ms. [inaudible] is trying to recover. She is very weak. Um, she's very tired and she still has no vision in her left eye. I cell phone, video and photographs showed Leslie on the ground with blood on her face and that went viral. But tell us more about what you've been able to put together so far about what actually happened. So what I have been able to put together so far is that ms. [inaudible] was,
Speaker 3: 01:06 uh, peacefully protesting in the Mesa police department parking lot, uh, when she was targeted and struck by a metal projectile, uh, they call them beanbags, but they're metal, uh, led buckshot bags, I guess, fired out of shotguns.
Speaker 1: 01:23 So the Lamesa police department says it's still investigating. Um, they released a timeline. Uh, the city released a timeline saying that an unlawful assembly was declared. So they say that protestors were warned, but it's unclear whether the protest was heard, that officers then reported being hit by rocks. And at that point they say they deployed tear gas and projectiles. As far as you can tell, does it appear that officers targeted ms. [inaudible]?
Speaker 3: 01:53 Uh, it, it absolutely appears the officer's targeted ms. For Cron. Um, there were, there was no one else near her when they shot, uh, the timeline that they, the self serving timeline that was released by the Lamesa police department does indicate that an officer believed he saw ms. [inaudible] throw something and that's why she was shot. So they've admitted that they did target and shoot her on purpose.
Speaker 1: 02:16 What do you make of how the Lamesa police departments responded so far?
Speaker 3: 02:20 It's more of the same. Um, what they're doing is pretty much the playbook for, uh, overuse of police power in the United States. They are, um, commandeering the investigation. They are keeping everything private and behind closed doors and not letting us see and not being transparent as to what's going on. Uh, and that's a problem when you have officers that are engaging in conduct, such as the officers and the Mesa police department,
Speaker 1: 02:48 what has she told you about why she decided to attend the protest?
Speaker 3: 02:52 She decided to attend the protest because herself like many other African-Americans my self included, uh, I've had bad interactions with the cops pretty much our entire life. And, um, she's also been impacted in her family specifically by police violence. And so she just wanted her voice to be heard along with the, uh, millions of people across the world.
Speaker 1: 03:15 No. Does ms. Frequency what happened to her as an example of what needs to change?
Speaker 3: 03:19 Absolutely. Um, not only what happened to her, but how it's being handled now. Uh, those are both things that need to change first, the use of force, that type of force, um, in that situation needs to change. And then second, uh, the investigation of the use of that force needs to be public and open as it would be if any citizen did the same thing.
Speaker 1: 03:41 So Franklin's family is calling for the officer involved to be fired and criminally charged is the family thinking of finding a lawsuit.
Speaker 3: 03:51 He is thinking of filing a lawsuit, uh, because there is no reason why ms for Cron should have to shoulder the burden of such tremendous, uh, damage to her, uh, through no fault of her own.
Speaker 1: 04:02 And does this issue of police's qualified immunity, give you pause when considering whether to file a suit? It doesn't give me
Speaker 3: 04:09 to me qualified immunity in this instance, because I know that there's no evidence to demonstrate that the amount of force, uh, was, was the right amount of force, considering whatever crime they thought she could have committed.
Speaker 1: 04:23 Okay. Now Leslie frequence case comes after Lamesa police were in brought in another incident that exposed them to criticism. Uh, when Amaury Johnson was detained near the Grossmont trolley station, that video circulated widely on public media and critics say that dropping charges against Johnson's not enough. Do you see that your case contributes to a larger change that some are saying is necessary in police culture?
Speaker 3: 04:49 Uh, I am hopeful that this case will bring in a change and the reason is, uh, it's needed. It's needed greatly in the community, the communities that are most impacted by police, these things, uh, these tactics are not new to us. It's new to the world. This is the first time the world is seeing the veil is being pulled back. And we're seeing that these policing tactics are improper, uh, overly aggressive and have no place in a civilized society.
Speaker 1: 05:17 So, Dante, what do you hope comes out of this case?
Speaker 3: 05:20 Uh, I hope that ms [inaudible] is compensated for her injuries so that she can continue to heal and not have to worry about the financial burden of paying for millions of dollars of medical bills. Um, I hope that happens. I also hope that now that the city of Lamesa sees that the Lamesa police department still refuses to follow the law, that the community review board will be instituted so that the community members of this city can know what's going on in their police force and can investigate themselves. Also, finally, I hope a third party investigation that occurs, uh, due to this incident and, uh, sweeping changes across the Lamesa police department are made. And those officers who are complicit and, uh, violating the rights of their constituents and of the city of LA masons should be terminated. We've
Speaker 1: 06:13 been speaking with Dante pride, who was the attorney of Leslie for crunch. Thank you so much to auntie thank you so much for having me. I do appreciate it. Lamesa police chief Walter Vasquez. There's you the following statement regarding the Leslie for a Cron incident quote, I am sincerely thankful that ms for a crime has been released from the hospital and is able to no heal at home with her family. I pray that she has a speedy and full recovery. I can assure ms. Farrakhan, her family and the public that this unfortunate incident will be fully investigated to include an in depth. Look at our crowd control practices. He added our hope is that we'll all come together to heal the wounds, nurture a culture of open communication and make the city of Lamesa a better and safer place to live.