LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officer bodycam video released Friday shows a man appearing to be struck in the head by a less-lethal projectile fired by Los Angeles police during the George Floyd protests in the Fairfax District earlier this summer.
The incident occurred on May 30 at 7:09 p.m. at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Grove Drive.
In the over seven-minute video posted Friday, LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza explains that protesters were throwing items such as rocks and frozen water bottles at the officers in the skirmish line. In the chaotic footage, officers can be heard screaming “less lethal” and “leave the area” as they face off with protesters in the middle of the street.
The victim, identified by police as C.J. Montano, appears to get struck by a projectile while his hands are up in the air in a surrendering position.
Montano covers his head as he falls to the ground. Several protesters then come to his aid and help him up. All of them run away.
In the LAPD video, Espinoza termed the shooting an “unintentional head strike.” Montano told media outlets that he was taken to a hospital for a head injury.
The LAPD Force Investigation Division (FID) is still investigating which officer fired the projectile which struck Montano. He has refused to speak with FID, Espinoza said. The report will eventually be presented to the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners, who will make a decision on whether the officer, or officers, use of force was acceptable.
The LAPD disclosed in June that it was flooded with complaints about excessive use of force from its officers during the protests, and had 40 investigators assigned to examining allegations of misconduct. It said it had already removed seven officers from the field for using excessive force.
Earlier this month, a federal judge denied an emergency application from Black Lives Matter for a temporary restraining order to ban the LAPD from using rubber bullets and baton strikes during protests.
Beginning May 29 and lasting several days, thousands of people took to the streets across the L.A. metro area to protest the killing of George Floyd and police brutality. While the vast majority of the protests were peaceful, hundreds of looters took advantage of the protests to ransack and vandalize dozens of businesses across the region.
Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Long Beach were among the cities hit the hardest. Several stores were set ablaze or completely destroyed. Several thousand people were arrested during that week, although the majority of those were peaceful protesters who were arrested for breaking curfew.
In late June, the LAPD said that a multiagency task force had identified at least 150 cases in which law enforcement officers and civilians had been assaulted during the looting and vandalism of the protests.
WARNING: The video below contains strong language and may be inappropriate for some viewers.