A man who says he was shot in the back of the head with a rubber bullet during a protest against police brutality filed a $50 million damages claim Thursday against the Los Angeles Police Department.
The claim by Randy Stewart is a precursor to a possible lawsuit.
“When we exercise our constitutional right to peacefully protest, the last thing we should expect is to be carried away from the protest with a traumatic brain injury,” Stewart’s attorney, R. Rex Parris, said in a statement. “The term rubber bullets sounds harmless, but they can cause severe injuries when in the wrong hands.”
The LAPD does not comment on litigation issues, but the department has vowed to thoroughly investigate all claims of misconduct by officers during the recent mass protests. Police have acknowledged receiving dozens of allegations of misconduct, and at least 10 officers were taken out of field duty while investigations are pending. The department has assigned 40 investigators to look into the allegations.
Stewart claims he was taking part in a protest May 30 in downtown Los Angeles when officers ordered the crowd to disperse. As he turned to leave, officers fired a round of rubber bullets into the crowd, with one striking Stewart in the back of the head, Parris said.
The claim contends that Stewart suffered a brain hemorrhage and was left with blurred vision, difficulty speaking and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If the city rejects or fails to respond to the claim, Stewart will be free to file a lawsuit.
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