Protester Whose Testicle ‘Exploded’ When Shot by Cop Wins $1.5M Settlement From City

Jason Armond/Getty Images
Jason Armond/Getty Images

The Black Lives Matter protester whose testicle exploded when he was shot with a hard-foam projectile by a LAPD officer has won $1.5 million in a settlement with the city.

The settlement doesn’t admit liability on the part of the LAPD or the city of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times reported, but it does close a lawsuit brought by the protester, Benjamin Montemayor, alleging excessive use of force and other civil rights violations against the city and its police.

“This settlement shows that there are repercussions for police misconduct against the people they have sworn to protect,” Montemayor said Friday in a statement provided by his attorneys.

Montemayor’s suit alleged that while he was demonstrating in Hollywood in June 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, LAPD officers lunged at him and a friend while they defied a police dispersal order (Montemayor claims not to have heard the order). During the scuffle, which quickly escalated, one of the officers shot him with a 40-millimeter projectile at close range, standing several feet away.

The impact caused Montemayor’s testicles to swell immediately, the right one engorging to the size of a grapefruit, his lawsuit claims.

The wounded man had to be rushed into emergency surgery, which, according to his complaint, required “piecing back together portions of his testicle which had exploded.”

In the aftermath, two separate internal reviews of the incident—done by former LAPD Chief Michel Moore and a department Use of Force Review Board—found that the officer who wounded Montemayor had acted within policy. But the LA Police Commission, which is made up of civilians, found that the use of force in this case was excessive and unjustified.

On Thursday, through a statement provided by his lawyers, Montemayor described his case as “a building block for others to continue challenging institutionalized violence.” The use of excessive police force has been thrust back into the spotlight in the wake of the violent arrests of several pro-Palestinian protesters from college campuses, who were at times subject to tear gas, tasers, and rubber bullets fired by police officers.

“If financial restitution is one of the only languages a broken system speaks, then we must make it speak in volumes until the sound is inescapable,” Montemayor said. “Everyday citizens’ rights are not just theoretical concepts.”

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