The family of a San Diego grandmother who was hit in the face by a law enforcement projectile during a weekend police protest in La Mesa, called Tuesday for the officer involved to be publicly identified, fired and charged with attempted murder.
Cellphone video that has gone viral shows 59-year-old Leslie Furcron lying on the ground, with blood streaming down her face, amid shouting demonstrators attending the Saturday evening protest triggered by the Memorial Day in-custody death in Minneapolis of George Floyd.
Furcron remains hospitalized in an intensive-care unit in a medically induced coma and may lose one of her eyes, according to her family and their attorney. They held a news conference outside La Mesa City Hall to demand that the officer who fired the rubber bullet, which struck her in the forehead, be held accountable.
Dante Pride, an attorney representing the family, said he’s reviewed “dozens” of videos and spoken with scores of people present at Saturday’s protest and has not seen any evidence that Furcron was violent or did anything to justify being shot.
Pride said Furcron was holding up her cellphone recording the protest when an officer opened fire. He said other protesters were also being peaceful and received no warning from law enforcement before “the tear gas came and the bullets rained down.”
Pride said he believes the involved officer purposely aimed at Furcron’s head, in contradiction of the La Mesa Police Department‘s rules regarding use of force, which he said holds that projectiles be aimed below the waist.
It’s uncertain whether the officer who opened fire was with the La Mesa Police or another agency, though Pride said he believes it was a La Mesa officer.
A representative of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the regional agency had no role in the shooting.
“It did not involve a sheriff’s deputy,” sheriff’s public affairs Lt. Ricardo Lopez said Tuesday afternoon.
La Mesa police headquarters photographing the protest. At around 8:10 pm the San Diego Police shot an unarmed woman in the head. She had her hands up, she was standing on the corner, she was not a threat to anyone. This is what we are fighting. This is war. today.#LaMesa pic.twitter.com/OruRparSp4
— Antoine (@bballdorito23) May 31, 2020
Two of Furcron’s sons, Ahmad and Azim, said their mother is a law-abiding La Mesa resident.
Ahmad Furcron demanded that police hold their own accountable, as they would any other citizen.
“If I commit a crime, I’m going to jail. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Whoever that was needs to stand and (be) held accountable for it,” Ahmad said. “That’s attempted murder. My mom was shot between the eyes, 59 years old, protesting. She doesn’t have the right to protest?”
Pride called on the general public to demand that law enforcement officials release the name of the officer, and also asked anyone who was at the protest to send in videos of the events surrounding the shooting.
He said if the department is unable to determine which officer fired the projectile, the incident still highlights issues with police practices regarding crowd dispersals.
“We need something different,” Pride said. “There should never be a case where a police unit can fire indiscriminately into a crowd and not know what they’re shooting at and who they’re shooting at.”
A GoFundMe page has been created for Furcron, with more than $85,000 raised by Tuesday afternoon. Pride said they expect her medical bills to near $1 million when all is said and done.
Updated at 5:15 p.m. June 2, 2020
— City News Service