Benjamin Montemayor, Shot In Testicles With A Hard-Foam Projectile While Peacefully Protesting, Sues LAPD For Excessive Force

Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai partners Dan Stormer, Barbara Hadsell, and Shaleen Shanbhag filed the lawsuit on Montemayor’s behalf, Monday, April 12, 2021 in federal court. The complaint cites three recent “after-action reports” detailing the LAPD’s inadequate training on the use of “less lethal” projectiles and its poor planning, preparation, and communication during the 2020 protests.

Montemayor, a 29-year-old filmmaker, was shot while protesting the unjustified police killing of George Floyd in June 2020. LAPD’s body camera video of the Hollywood incident shows one LAPD officer ripping a “Defund the Police” banner from Montemayor’s hands and a second LAPD officer violently shoving him. A third officer then takes aim and shoots Montemayor directly in the crotch with a 40-mm hard-foam projectile from less than ten feet away.

Montemayor rushed to the hospital where ER doctors determined that he would need emergency surgery to try to save his testicles, one of which had been ruptured by the force of the projectile. The complaint states that Montemayor “was severely injured, in excruciating pain, and required emergency testicular surgery within hours. He needed months of additional treatment and has yet to fully recover.”

Of the LAPD’s actions during the protests, Dan Stormer stated, “A civilized society cannot survive if the police are allowed to run wild in the streets. The LAPD is out of control.  It is violent, dangerous and has no limits to its willingness to engage in brutal behavior. Its leadership then supports, condones and ratifies that brutal behavior.”

The lawsuit states that the high-speed, dangerous projectile fired at Montemayor is a “pain compliance tool that fires kinetic energy impact munitions intended to incapacitate aggressive, noncompliant individuals and can result in serious bodily injury or death.” Montemayor was neither aggressive nor noncompliant.

The lawsuit also challenges the recently released LAPD Use of Force Review Board determination that the officer who shot Montemayor was acting within LAPD policy.  Montemayor’s response to the review panel’s determination — “It’s just hard for my brain to grasp.” He wants police to be held accountable for misuse of the potentially lethal projectiles, saying, “They’re used irresponsibly. They’re overused. I don’t want them to be downplayed.”

Shaleen Shanbhag said that the Use of Force Review Board’s finding shows that the LAPD endorses peaceful protestors being targeted with weapons that are “very clearly intended to incapacitate someone.”

Montemayor joins many others in filing lawsuits against the LAPD for excessive force at the summer protests, one of which is a class action brought by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.





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