A PROTESTER is suing the Los Angeles police after a cop shot him with a rubber bullet that caused his testicle to explode in June.
Ben Montemayor, 29, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for using excessive force when dispersing protests and violating his constitutional rights, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit alleged that Montemayor was shot in the testicle with a projectile that caused it to swell to the size of a “grapefruit” and exploded. Doctors had to piece his testicle together after he was rushed to a hospital.
The defendants in the lawsuit include LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
The lawsuit alleged that Montemayor was attacked by two officers who shoved him backward and ripped a sign he was holding that called for defunding the LAPD.
Before he was attacked, Montemayor didn’t hear a dispersal order but was heading in the direction he believed the police wanted protestors to go.
“As Mr. Montemayor stood there, unarmed, not resisting arrest, posing no threat whatsoever to anyone around him, and having just been violently shoved, a third officer less than ten feet away aimed his green [40-millimeter] launcher at Mr. Montemayor and intentionally shot him in the groin with a high-speed plastic, hard foam projectile,” the lawsuit read, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Montemayor’s legal claim also challenges a recent finding by the department’s Use of Force Review Board which stated that the officer who shot the twenty-nine-year-old was in policy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The LAPD’s communications team didn’t respond to The Sun’s immediate request for comment.
The Use of Force Review Board recommended that the officer who shot Montemayor should receive a tactical debriefing.
LAPD policy states that officers should only use such projectiles with protestors if they are a physical threat to the police and not for failing to follow a dispersal order, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit also mentioned the failure to train officers to properly use projectiles which were cited as a driving force leading to Montemayor’s injuries.
“They [the projectiles] are used irresponsibly. They’re overused,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t want them to be downplayed.”
One of Montemayor’s lawyers Shaleen Shanbhag said that the Use of Force Review Board report shows that the LAPD endorses peaceful protestors being targeted with weapons that are “very clearly intended to incapacitate someone.”
On Friday, the National Police Foundation released a report that said the LAPD’s crowd management practices “were inadequate to handle the disparate groups or to identify leaders among the protesters and address the level of violence.”
Communication was inconsistent between Chief Michel Moore, command staff, bureau commander, line officers, and field supervisors, according to the report.
The report also described officer morale as “at an all-time low.”
Thousands of demonstrators took the streets of Hollywood in Los Angeles in June, protesting the death of George Floyd who was killed by a Minneapolis last year.
The LAPD said at the time that the city will not criminally or financially penalize protesters who were apprehended.
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