The Los Angeles Police Department released a bodycam video on Friday showing a Los Angeles cop shooting a protester in the groin with a less-lethal device during an ongoing protest against the police brutality in June. The protester named Ben Montemayor had previously told the Los Angeles Times that he had serious injuries in his testicles after getting shot with a foam projectile. In an Instagram post on June 7, he stated that he had emergency surgery due to the risk of losing his right testicle totally.
The LAPD started investigating the use-of-force incident after the LA Times confirmed that Montemayor and other protesters got injured by officers during the demonstrations in May and June. On Friday, the department released the bodycam footage showing officers grabbing a large sign from Montemayor and shooting him from close range with a 40mm less-lethal launcher while his hands were in the air.
Montemayor Was Shot From Close Range
The use-of-force directive of LAPD on the 40mm less-lethal launcher states that the force is only allowed when an officer believes the suspect is resisting violently or poses an immediate threat of violence. "Verbal threats of violence or mere non-compliance do not alone justify the use of Less-Lethal force," the 2018 directive states as reported by BuzzFeed.
The footage shows a large number of LAPD officers clearing the protesters. The audio of a police radio can be heard saying that the bottles and rocks are being thrown at the cops. Montemayor can seen standing in the middle of a crosswalk as he was holding a huge banner with a friend, protesting for the defunding of police and protecting communities.
The officer can be seen grabbing the woman holding the banner as she goes off camera. One officer then attacks Montemayor and rips the banner from his hands while another officer pushes him back as Montemayor raises his hands in the air. The man then moves forward a little before the officer shoots him. Montemayor in his Instagram post said that his friend was thrown to the ground. He said that after getting ultrasound from a nearby hospital, he prepped for surgery.
Montemayor's attorney Dan Stormer while responding to the video said, "In some ways, it's even worse than we thought. It's not often you see something like this that is so cut and dried, but it's pretty brutal," as reported by LA Times.