This week, a jury awarded damages of $3.75million to a protester who was shot twice by Los Angeles Police with foam projectiles during riots in 2020.
The Los Angeles Times reports that on Wednesday, jurors ruled the LA Police Department negligent for firing the ‘less-lethal’ devices against Asim Jamal Shkir Jr.
Shakir was filming a skirmish between police officers when he spotted his LAPD officer Uncle in the formation. He confronted him and shouted, “Our ancestors will be turning over right now!” Shakir claims that Eric Anderson, his uncle, directed other officers in the formation to fire a foam projectile at him.
Carl Douglas, the civil rights lawyer who brought the lawsuit on Shakir’s side, hopes that the large damages awarded will send a message to police officers that such acts of violence are not tolerated. The City Council must still approve the award.
Karen Richardson, the spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office, told The Times that her office did not have any comment regarding the jury’s verdict. The police department failed to respond to a Friday email seeking comments.
The defense team attempted to reconstruct events that day using video footage from a bodycam and Instagram livestream.
According to the lawsuit, Shakir was hit once and then struck a second while he bent down to pick up the phone that was knocked from his hand by the initial projectile.
Shakir’s attorney stated that he had to undergo physical therapy for an entire year due to the injury in his hand. He still experiences pain.
Douglas stated that an internal investigation of the department revealed that Shakir’s injury was caused by a less-lethal force, which was not reported.
The incident took place during the mass protests in response to the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
According to The Times, the city still faces a class-action suit by Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles and other groups for its handling of the 2020 protests. Many other lawsuits have been settled.