A 29-year-old man Monday sued the Los Angeles Police Department and unidentified officers for allegedly shooting him at close range with a projectile intended to incapacitate aggressive and noncompliant individuals during a street protest last summer.
Benjamin Montemayor, a Los Angeles filmmaker, alleges that on June 2, while peacefully protesting the Minneapolis in-custody killing of George Floyd, an LAPD officer aimed and fired a green 40mm launcher at his groin.
The impact of the shot was so severe that it ruptured Montemayor’s testicle and required immediate emergency surgery, according to the suit filed in Los Angeles federal court.
An LAPD spokesman said that according to policy, the department does not comment on pending litigation. However, an LAPD spokesman previously said the department has assigned internal affairs investigators to review use-of-force allegations stemming from last year’s street protests.
Montemayor alleges that during the gathering, LAPD officers outfitted in riot gear began attacking the crowd by firing potentially deadly “less lethal” projectiles and chemical weapons at protesters for no legitimate reason.
Montemayor “was severely injured, in excruciating pain, and required emergency testicular surgery within hours,” according to plaintiff’s attorney Dan Stormer. “He needed months of additional treatment and has yet to fully recover.”
The lawsuit says the weapon used against Montemayor is a “pain compliance tool that fires kinetic energy impact munitions intended to incapacitate aggressive, noncompliant individuals and can result in serious bodily injury or death.”
Montemayor was neither aggressive nor noncompliant, according to his complaint, which alleges excessive force and civil rights violations.
The plaintiff’s attorney said that the LAPD’s Use of Force Review Board found its officers’ actions against Montemayor to be within department policy.
“A civilized society cannot survive if the police are allowed to run wild in the streets,” Stormer said. “The LAPD is out of control. It is violent, dangerous and has no limits to its willingness to engage in brutal behavior. Its leadership then supports, condones and ratifies that brutal behavior.”
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