After originally filing her case in Los Angeles Superior Court, a Black Lives Matter activist who sued the city of Los Angeles alleging she was hit with a baton and shot in the stomach and arm with LAPD projectiles will take her case to federal court, her attorney said Thursday.
Fahren James, 39, was hurt during a protest in the Fairfax District after the Memorial Day 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Her attorney, V. James DeSimone, filed court papers on June 2 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard J. Burdge Jr. asking that her case filed Jan. 12 be dismissed. He said the case has since been refiled in U.S. District Court.
James alleged in her Superior Court suit that her constitutional rights were violated when she was wounded by an officer who fired the projectiles into her stomach and arm in what the suit maintained was a violation of department policy. James, of South Pasadena, said previously that she has been targeted by white supremacists for her activism.
James said she spent three days in a hospital for merely asserting her First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner.
“We were there because we recognized a problem in the system,” James said.
According to the Superior Court suit, James drove to the protest site about 4:20 p.m. May 30, 2020 and was standing on the sidewalk along Beverly Boulevard, east of the Erewhon Market, and saw police enter the CBS Studios parking lot, then shortly thereafter, rush out firing non-lethal bullets at a group of people.
She alleged she saw an officer leave the line and point his weapon at her. She told the officer she was peacefully protesting and asked why he aimed his weapon at her, according to her court papers. When the officer turned the weapon away from her, she turned her back to the officers, the Superior Court suit stated.
James said she tried to reason with the officers and convince them to deescalate the situation, but a brief time later, without provocation, a female LAPD officer struck James on her back with a baton. A male LAPD officer next to the female officer shot James twice from point-blank range with bullets that left metal fragments in her stomach, her Superior Court suit stated.
One shot struck James in the abdomen and another struck her under her left arm, which she had raised in vain to protect herself, according to the Superior Court complaint.