Great Britain

LAPD releases video of officer shooting protester in groin with foam round

The Los Angeles Police Department released body camera footage of a police officer that shot a foam projectile into the groin of a protester who does not appear to present a threat to police.    

In the video, a pair of individuals unfurl a banner in front of the police that read "Defund the Police."  

The men were protesting the death of George Floyd during a 2 June demonstration on Hollywood Boulevard.  

Officers tore the sign away from the men and pushed one of them to the ground. The second man moved to help his friend, but was ushered away from the police line by an officer. The man cowed to the officer's directions and kept his hands up and palms open throughout the confrontation.  

Despite having his hands up and complying with the police, another officer stepped in and shot the man in the groin with a foam projectile.  

The officer involved in the incident is under investigation by the LAPD's Force Investigation Division, according to NBC4. The investigation was launched in response to an LA Times story reporting the shooting.

A 28-year-old filmmaker named Ben Montemayor claims he was the victim of the attack. He said in an Instagram post that the foam projectile caused serious injuries to his testicles and that he had to have emergency surgery as a result.  

The projectiles - 40mm "less lethal" foam rounds - were not designed to cause serious injury, according to LAPD Captain Stacy Spell.  

She said the rounds are meant to hurt, but not to kill or maim.  

"It is designed to be non-penetrating by distributing energy over a broad surface area," Ms Spell said.  

According to the LAPD's own use-of-force guidelines, "less lethal" force - which would include the use of the 40mm launcher - is only to be used when an officer reasonably believes that a suspect is "violently resisting arrest or poses an immediate threat of violence or physical harm."  

The guidelines say that verbal threats of violence or basic non-compliance do not justify the use of the weapons.  

Throughout the duration of the protests sparked by George Floyd's death at the hands of the Minneapolis police department, protesters have reported serious injuries caused by police non-lethal munitions. Several people have lost eyes or suffered fractured skulls when police shot non-lethal rounds at their heads.  

Ms Spell said the investigation into the incident would likely take several months, and that the department's findings would eventually be sent to LAPD Chief Michel Moore. 

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