After suppressing the police body cam videos for two months, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recently released footage of officers shooting rubber bullets at a protester with his hands up in submission. Shot with nonlethal rounds in the abdomen, chest, and face, the protester was carried away by other demonstrators and hospitalized with serious injuries.
On May 30, Marine Corps veteran C.J. Montano attended a protest against police brutality in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Serving in the Marines from 2014 to 2018, Montano was at the demonstration reportedly carrying a sign reading, “We can’t be silent when cops are violent.”
According to police body cam videos, Montano was backing away from the officers with his hands in the air when they fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. The Marine veteran was hit with nonlethal rounds in the head and torso despite department policy to only target individuals posing an immediate threat and not to aim at the head.
“I’m on blood thinners, so I started leaking blood pretty bad,” Montano told ABC7 from his hospital bed in June. “This one gentleman, I don’t know his name. I had my arm around him. He carried me a block away.”
“He is isolated in that intersection. His arms are up in the air. There’s no good argument that he was hit accidentally,” Timothy Loranger, one of Montano’s attorneys, told The Los Angeles Times. “He was specifically targeted, and he was hit. This was not an accident.”
“I just want everyone to see how oppressive the police force is as a whole in the United States, and what they are doing to people who literally, as you can see in the video, are backing up with their hands up,” Montano added. “It’s just sickening.”
Due to policy guidelines, the LAPD is required to release body cam and dash cam footage of any incidents in which officers cause serious bodily injury within 45 days of the request. Although police officials could have released the videos earlier, they chose not to.
Montano reportedly walks with a cane now, can no longer lift anything heavy, and plans to file a lawsuit against the city unless he is compensated for his injuries. The LAPD officers who shot Montano with nonlethal rounds have not been identified and are not currently facing criminal charges for assault.