MNLA photo by Jay Martin

A man who says he was shot in the back of the head with a rubber bullet by Los Angeles police during a 2020 protest against the killing of George Floyd can expand his claims against the city, a judge ruled Monday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy said plaintiff Randall Stewart of Van Nuys can file an amended complaint within 10 days to add causes of action for battery by peace officer, negligent use of deadly force by peace officer and civil rights violations.

The original suit, filed March 2021, alleged causes of action for battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent hiring, supervising and retention. Those allegations will remain in the new suit.

Stewart’s lawyers argued the amended complaint was warranted given that an in-chambers review of police personnel records conducted by the judge and ordered produced to the plaintiff’s legal team showed that LAPD Officer Bryan Dameworth, a co-defendant in the suit, acted with “reckless disregard of (Stewart’s) rights under the California Constitution when he shot Plaintiff Stewart in the head with a 40mm (rubber bullet).”

Stewart’s lawyers further state in their court papers that they did not know about the new information regarding Dameworth prior to a review of the Internal Affairs investigative report of the incident that was turned over along with the other documents.

According to Stewart’s attorneys’ court papers, on May 30, 2020, the plaintiff and other protesters marched down Gardner Street, turned west on Third Street, and eventually stopped near Fairfax Avenue. When the protesters refused to vacate as the officers demanded, Dameworth began telling them to “leave the (epithet) area” while shooting rubber bullets into the crowd, one of which struck Stewart in the head, causing him severe and permanent injuries.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 of murder in Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death and was sentenced in June 2021 to more than 22 years in prison.

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