Video shows LAPD shooting man in the head while arms are up

LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza called the shooting an 'unintentional head strike.' 

(Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Officer body cam footage shows a man with his hands up during the George Floyd protests in Los Angeles being shot in the head with less-lethal projectile fired by police. 

The incident occurred in the Fairfax District on the evening of May 30 at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Grove Drive. The over 7-minute video shows the victim, CJ Montano, standing in the middle of the street with his hands up as officers on skirmish lines in front of him react to protesters throwing rocks and frozen water bottles at them, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Police are heard screaming “Less lethal!” and “Leave the area!” as they attempt to push back the crowd. They then fire at protesters as they flee. The clip shows Montano dropping to the ground and being rushed away from the scene by other demonstrators.  

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LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza called the shooting an “unintentional head strike.” 

Espinoza said “the circumstances of how Montano was struck, and which officer fired the less-lethal projectile that struck Montano, is still under investigation” by the LAPD Force Investigation Division (FID). 

Montano, who was reportedly taken to a hospital and treated for a head injury, has refused to cooperate with the investigation, police said. 

Many protesters suffered injuries that day from police use of batons and tactical weapons. A Times investigation has found LAPD officers likely violated protocols for use of such weapons, as they are not supposed to fire at people who are fleeing the scene.

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Department policy requires that less-lethal weapons and projectiles, such as sponge and foam bullets, are only to be used on individuals who are presenting an immediate threat.  Officers are supposed to aim only for the person’s navel, belt line or their arms and legs — never their head or neck.

Montano is the latest case highlighting the LAPD’s excessive use of force during protests over police brutality and injustice. 

The LAPD is reportedly investigating 125 separate complaints from the protests. So far, 10 officers have been removed from field duties pending investigations.

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