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Lawsuit Alleges LAPD Unlawfully Detained Thousands

People arrested by LAPD officers are led aboard an L.A. Metro bus amid protests in downtown L.A. on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Frank Stoltze/LAist)
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Black Lives Matter filed a class action lawsuit late Friday, alleging the Los Angeles Police Department over the past week unlawfully detained more than 2,600 people who were engaged in peaceful protests, and engaged in "excessive force with batons and rubber bullets, and prolonged handcuffing and improper conditions of confinement."

The other plaintiffs include the Skid Row activist group Los Angeles Community Action Network and a group of individuals. One man included in the lawsuit, referred to only as "Cincinatti," is a homeless person who uses a wheelchair and was allegedly hit by a rubber bullet fired by the LAPD in downtown, according to the lawsuit.

“Cincinnati is disabled and in a wheelchair. He pleaded with police not to use force on him before being shot in the face,” the lawsuit states.

Anothger plaintiff, Weston Rowland, attended the large protest in Pan Pacific Park last Saturday.

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"Rowland heard no orders from the officers other than 'back up,'" the lawsuit states. "In a very short time, the officers opened fire with less lethal weapons aiming directly at the demonstrators and striking many in the upper body."

In another example noted in the lawsuit, Linus Shentu and friends were sitting in his parked car during a Hollywood protest when officers detained him and drove him to a makeshift police processing center in Van Nuys, the lawsuit states. Shentu allegedly “experienced numbness, bruising and soreness from the handcuffing and the forced removal from their vehicle.”

The lawsuit named the City of Los Angeles and LAPD Chief Michel Moore. Representatives of the city and chief were not immediately available for comment. Moore has largely defended his officers’ actions during the protests but promised a full investigation into the various incidents that occurred.

In an interview with KPCC’s Airtalk Friday, Moore said he would only release body cam footage of the protests to individuals who claimed they were victims of police abuse.


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