A woman who alleges she was shot repeatedly with non-lethal projectiles by law enforcement officers during a protest in South Los Angeles last September sued the county and unidentified sheriff’s deputies Friday.
According to her civil rights suit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Gabrielle Bynum attended the Sept. 7 demonstration in the vicinity of the intersection of Imperial Highway and Normandie Avenue and was fired on, along with other attendees, in an “unlawful attack on the fundamental democratic rights to freedom of speech and assembly.”
Bynum was shot in the hand and seriously injured by one of the projectiles, requiring surgery and a lengthy and ongoing recovery period, according to her court papers.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
Bynum, an Amazon employee, said she attended the gathering to protest the fatal shooting of Dijon Kizzee by deputies in the Westmont area a month earlier.
Kizzee, 29, was killed Aug. 31 after sheriff’s deputies allegedly tried to stop him for riding a bicycle in the wrong direction. The sheriff’s department contends Kizzee was fatally shot after he picked up a handgun he had dropped during a struggle with one of the deputies.
Bynum alleges she did not perceive any threat to the deputies at the protest that would justify a use of force, and no warning was given.
Together with a fellow protester, Bynum attempted to run, eyes burning from chemicals “that were being used to attack the protesters,” the lawsuit says. “As she was running away, she was struck from behind repeatedly by multiple projectiles, and she became aware that she had been seriously injured. Despite her injuries, she remained near the scene to assist fellow protesters who had been injured or affected by pepper spray.”
Bynum’s right thumb was seriously maimed by a projectile, according to the lawsuit.
“She was diagnosed with a right thumb proximal phalanx fracture, requiring surgery and the insertion of pins for a period of eight weeks,” according to the suit. “This was followed by a lengthy period of treatment and recovery. Treatment and evaluation are ongoing.”
Bynum, who has not been able to return to work since being injured, “continues to experience symptoms including, without limitation, swelling, pain, limited range of motion, limited grip strength, and difficulty using her right hand for ordinary tasks like writing, gripping, and turning objects,” according to the suit.
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