Police wife’s urgent warning: All officers are ‘only one call away from becoming political scapegoats’

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 SAN DIEGO, CA – Embattled former La Mesa police officer Matthew Dages’ criminal trial is fast approaching, and his wife is warning that all police officers are “only one call away from becoming political scapegoats.”

Dages is facing felony charges for allegedly falsifying a police report in the case.

The former officer is unable to comment on the case because of multiple pending civil and criminal legal proceedings resulting from a typically minor, routine police encounter that spiraled into a felony arrest of a police officer.

Since he cannot defend himself in the public arena, his wife has become his strongest advocate.

Christine Dages has become a fixture in the media, trying to get her husband’s story out and warning other law enforcement officers that they could find themselves in her husband’s shoes at a moment’s notice.

She said it was time for those in law enforcement, and those who care about law enforcement, to draw a line in the sand. It is time for them to stand up and be heard.

Matthew and Christine Dages (Photo courtesy of the Dages family) 2
Matthew and Christine Dages (Photo courtesy of the Dages family) 2

Speaking with Law Enforcement Today about preparations for her husband’s up-coming trial, Christine said there is a message in her husband’s story that other law enforcement officers need to hear:

“What’s happening to my husband, Matthew Dages, could happen to any police officer. In this climate in policing, every single cop is just one call away from being the political scapegoat that my husband currently is.

“Keep in mind that this all started because of a justified use of force (when) a video of that went viral, so even if your use of force is justified, if the BLM lynch mob screams loud enough, you can get thrown under the bus for just doing your job.”

Christine warned that if those in power want to find a reason to go after an officer for political or public relations reasons, they will find a way:

“It almost doesn’t matter that the use of force is justified. They will try to crucify you for ridiculous things like word choice in a police report.”

Matthew Dages was fired from the La Mesa Police Department following an incident with 23-year-old Amaurie Johnson on May 27, 2020, just two days after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

On that day, then-Officer Dages was assigned to trolley enforcement detail for the Grossmont station.

According to police reports, the officer believed Johnson was smoking in the area, something that is not allowed. As part of the detail, officers were supposed to verify that people in the trolley station had a valid trolley pass. When Johnson said he did not have a trolley pass, the officer detained him.

Johnson refused the officer’s orders to sit down while being detained, and repeatedly stepped up to the officer. Body camera video shows Dages holding the suspect’s shirt as the suspect refuses to comply with instructions.

At one point, the suspect hit the officer’s hand, which is misdemeanor assault against a peace officer in California. Dages placed Johnson into custody and removed him from the scene for booking and release.

When video of the incident went viral, rioters burned down most of the La Mesa business district in protest of the arrest, and in response to the killing of Floyd by former officer Derek Chauvin.

In a shocking move, then-La Mesa Police Department Chief Walt Vasquez announced in June that assault charges against Johnson were being dismissed.

An internal use-of-force investigation of the incident by the La Mesa Police Department cleared Dages of any wrongdoing. Yet in August, despite the findings, the now-retired chief announced Dages’ termination based on allegations that he violated several police department rules and regulations, including falsification of records.

In January, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced a felony charge of filing a false police report against the officer.

Christine warned that if those in power want to find a reason to go after an officer for political or public relations reasons, they will find a way:

“It almost doesn’t matter that the use of force is justified. They will try to crucify you for ridiculous things like word choice in a police report.”

When Johnson was again arrested, this time for a felony fleeing charge resulting from a high-speed pursuit in San Diego, red flags were raised regarding the actions of DA Stephan.

During Degas’ preliminary hearing, it was disclosed that Johnson had been arrested after the May incident by San Diego police in a high-speed pursuit. However, DA Stephan failed to follow through on felony charges against Johnson, her star witness against Dages.

Christine said the disclosure about Johnson has resulted in local and national outrage over the case and calls for the California Attorney General to open an investigation into the San Diego District Attorney’s Office:

“The DA is San Diego, Summer Stephan, is refusing to  charge Amaurie Johnson for that felony evasion, which is highly suspicious in our time in law enforcement and everyone we know in law enforcement, we never heard of a felony police chase not being charged.

“Several groups in the community, both locally and nationally, have started sounding off about what is perceived to be an abuse of discretion from the DA. Five organizations wrote letters to the Attorney General in California, Rob Bonta, demanding that an investigation be launched.”

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

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LET Unity
 

The trial for Dages is set for jury selection on November 29, and Christine said her immediate goal is to “get loud.”

Several people and groups have stepped up to help with that goal, including Brandon Tatum, a former black Tucson police officer who is now the host of the popular YouTube channel “The Officer Tatum, “ spoke out in support of Matthew Dages.

While playing video of the incident segment by segment, Tatum pointed out all the different moments when Johnson escalated the situation with Degas:

“You’re detained. Now you’re getting in the officer’s face. When a man stands up to an officer and they are in his face, you better believe that his next swing could be (the suspect) swinging on you. And if you (the officer) get knocked out and three guys over there have his back, you get knocked out with your gun belt, you are in trouble.

“This is not acceptable. This officer got fired. He (Johnson) is saying all kinds of crazy stuff that I am not going to play; you can watch the video. He called the officer the N-Word, he is calling all of them N-word, he’s threating them, he said he is going to kick the officer’s you-know-what. All of these things the brother is saying, yet the police officer is getting arrested, and this guy is being held up like he is some type of a god.”

Tatum then went through Matthew Dages’ police report detail by detail showing there was no falsification:

“I read it all. Not one time did this officer lie on his case report about what happened at the scene. You all saw it (in the video). He (the suspect) took a bladed stance; he was in a fighting stance. You (the police) have to be able to control the scene.

“When you are not free to leave, you cannot just get up and walk away. We have seen officers get hurt, I don’t know how many times, because they let people up and walk around, then they pull a gun on you… There are so many videos and evidence of these things occurring that I do not understand how people are led astray as to the importance of being able to gain control of a suspect.”

Tatum closed by saying that the only reason Dages was arrested was because he was white, and because Johnson claimed racial motivation. He said it was time to stand up:

“How many crimes has this guy been associated with? How many other things has this guy been involved in. Probably too many to count.

“I think that we, as a people, should stand up for this police officer.”

Christine asked for people and groups to call attention to the “witch hunt and political railroading” that is dragging her family through a felony trial for a justified use of force incident.

She pointed to their Instagram account, clearofficerdages, as a source to find updates about the case and ways the public can help.

Christine explained that some of the family’s legal fees are being covered by the local police union, but a hefty sum remains:

“To date, Matthew has paid out of pocket over $80,000 in legal fees just to stay in this fight to clear his name.”

The Pipe Hitter Foundation, founded by Eddie and Andrea Gallagher, has been advocating and fundraising for the Dages family. On their donorbox page, they wrote:

“(Matthew) Dages was cleared of any use of force during the May 27, 2020, incident, but seemingly due to political pressure, Dages is now a scapegoat for the violence that befell the city.

“Pipe Hitter Foundation will not stand for the continued villainization of this officer. We have set up a fundraising page for donations to help with legal fees as this officer continues the fight to clear his name.”

Christine stressed that this was not just a story about her family:

“What is happening to us is atrocious and it could happen to anyone who reads this article. It could happen to a cop you know or love. That is why it is important that we stand together and draw a line in the sand fighting back against how the ‘woke’ mob wants to villainize the police profession.”

Anyone looking for more information, to buy a t-shirt to help the family with legal fees, or to make a donation; please use the links provided below:

Follow @ClearOfficerDages on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clearofficerdages/
Make a tax-deductible donation to support Dages: https://donorbox.org/piphitterfoundation-matthew-dages
Buy a Good Over Evil T-shirt to support Dages: https://officerdages.com/

  

 

 

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