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A South African activist with a history of opposing Apartheid was shot in the groin with a rubber bullet by Los Angeles police during a protest in late May, resulting in the loss of one of his testicles.
Bradley Steyn, is now claiming he was purposely targeted and maimed by LAPD officers during a May 30 demonstration over the death of George Floyd earlier in the month at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, TMZ reported.
Steyn claims that he was a witness to an incident involving police brutality but then was targeted by LAPD officers in the city’s Fairfax District who, he says, used batons to beat him in the chest before firing a rubber bullet at him point-blank.
He says he was struck in the inner thigh and genitals, and that he’s been suffering terrible pain as well as the loss of one of his testicles.
On Thursday Steyn and his attorney, Lisa Bloom, held a press conference in front of LAPD headquarters to outline their plans for legal action against the department and “the impact his beating and shooting has had on his life and family,” according to a statement.
During the presser, Steyn claimed he witnessed Apartheid-style actions by LAPD officers.
“It’s brought back a lot of painful thoughts and memories,” he said, according to ABC7. “This apartheid-style of policing in the United States of citizens is disgusting.”
“At the march, I was shot by a member of the LAPD with a rubber bullet in my testicles. One of my testicles ruptured and lead to me almost bleeding out and dying on the streets of Los Angeles,” he said, adding that at the time he was attempting to assist another demonstrator.
Bloom claimed that no police officers rendered her client any assistance following his injury and that he was taken to the hospital by someone in a rideshare vehicle.
The attorney also demanded that the LAPD be banned from using rubber bullets and other crowd control measures.
“We demand that rubber bullets be severely curtailed or banned. We demand rules requiring that they never be shot a point-blank range and never at someone’s genitals or face,” she said.
In a statement, the LAPD said it could not comment on any pending legal action, but did add that the department does not use rubber bullets but instead deploys a .40 caliber less-than-lethal round that is non-penetrating.
“We are fully committed to investigating every allegation of misconduct or excessive force related to the recent protests. We have assigned 40 investigators to look into each alleged instance and will conduct a thorough investigation,” the department said in a statement to the local ABC affiliate.
In a separate report, TMZ noted that Steyn said he had a discussion the night before the incident with his daughter in which he allegedly said that no matter how powerful the government or police become, there is always the option of protesting and marching peacefully and that they should not “let corrupt police continue to kill people.”
“American police are out of control,” Bloom added. “At protests against police brutality, again and again, they are proving the protesters’ point.”
Video of the May 30 demonstrations show throngs of protestors surrounding and destroying scores of LAPD vehicles.
The department is already investigating a number of other complaints involving uses of force, with many related to recent violent demonstrations following the Floyd incident.
CBS Los Angeles reported that two attorneys, John Carpenter and Sara Azari, are pursuing a number of claims against the LAPD.
“The path to justice begins with the truth,” Carpenter said. “When the government enacts and enforces an illegal curfew to infringe on an individual’s expression of the truth, it creates a tool of oppression to benefit those peddling a false narrative and undermines the foundation of our society.”
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