LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles police released body-worn camera footage Friday that shows a protester with his hands up as he is shot in the head with a less-than-lethal round when officers tried to contain demonstrations against police brutality in May.
The May 30 video depicts a chaotic scene with officers, who were reportedly being struck by rocks, glass bottles and frozen water bottles, screaming “Less lethal!” and “Leave the area!” and firing at fleeing protesters.
One protester, 24-year-old CJ Montano a Marine Corps vet, is seen standing in the street with his hands raised.
He says he was there to help both sides.
“With training from the Marine Corps I was able to just help people who were freaking out. At one point I even tried to get protesters to stop throwing water bottles and rocks,” Montano told FOX 11.
The video shows him crumpling to the ground as officers fire projectiles at the protesters. Others are seen helping Montano get out of harm’s way as officers in skirmish lines advance down the street.
Montano says he did not pose a threat to police and was targeted during the protests in the city’s Fairfax District. Montano says he was struck three times and was hospitalized with serious bleeding in his brain and is still recovering from multiple symptoms.
LAPD officials are calling the incident an “unintentional head strike” and say they have not been able to interview Montano, who has notified the city that he plans to file a lawsuit unless he is compensated for his injuries.
“They had to staple my head close in the ICU,” he said.
Authorities said they are investigating who fired the projectile at him.
LAPD policy requires that officers fire non-lethal projectiles at specific targets who present a threat. Officers are not supposed to aim for a person’s head or neck, or any people who are running away.
The department’s uses of force during the protests, which occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, have come under scrutiny.
FOX 11’s Susan Hirasuna contributed to this report