PASADENA (CBSLA) – Two Los Angeles Police Officers are facing disciplinary hearings after the LAPD Commission ruled that they failed to follow procedure when they fired less-than-lethal projectiles at two demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd last summer.
“I think I’ll be feeling and processing it for years,” Ben Montemayor, who was shot in the groin with a two-inch wide plastic and hard-foam projectile at a Hollywood protest last year, told CBSLA’s Laurie Perez.
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On Thursday, the LAPD Police Commission found the officer was wrong to shoot at Montemayor even though Chief Michael Moore said the officer did not break any rules.
Civil Rights Attorney Shaleen Shanbhag, who represents Montemayor in his civil suit seeking damages against the department, says the chief’s comments confirm their case.
“It means that Chief Moore condones and supports excessive force by his officers,” Shanbhag said.
Montemayor underwent emergency surgery to save his testicle, but is still not able to resume full physical activity.
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The commission also ruled that an officer broke policy when they shot CJ Montano in the head with a beanbag projectile May 30, despite the fact that his hands were up and he was still some distance from the officers. Montano suffered traumatic brain injury from the incident.
“I felt like I was actually gonna die. All the vision in my left eye went out entirely,” Montano told CBSLA last summer after the event.
Montano’s attorney, Pedram Esfandiary, who also represents Black Lives Matter in a class action lawsuit over LAPD’s actions during last summer’s protests, says the ruling is just, but that there is still work that needs to be done.
“What the report lacks, at least explicitly, is an open recognition that that there is a need for training for these officers,” Esfandiary said.
Both victims say that’s what they want the most, more training, better supervision and limits on the use of less-than-lethal force.
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“I just don’t want to downplay the severity of these rounds, the severity of less lethal rounds, because they can really hurt people,” Montemayor said.