LOS ANGELES - A jury ruled in favor of the city of Los Angeles in a lawsuit filed by a man who contended he was shot in the groin with a rubber bullet without provocation during a 2020 mass protest in the Fairfax District over the death of George Floyd.
Plaintiff Bradley Steyn's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought in September 2020.
On Tuesday, jurors found that although Officer Brandon Purece used violent force against the plaintiff, he did not do so in violation of Steyn's First Amendment rights or in regard to his race or political association. The panel also found Purece was not negligent.
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According to the city's court papers, Steyn kicked an officer to the ground in front of what the plaintiff called an "ignited" crowd of thousands of people, and Officers Purece and Jeffrey Rivera used reasonable force to stop the plaintiff's "uncontrolled aggression and unjustified assault" on a third officer.
Steyn's kick of the officer was so hard that the officer fell, his pistol magazine fell out of his vest and he was injured in the stomach, shoulder and elbow, the city's attorneys stated in their court papers.
Steyn is about 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs about 240 pounds, the defense lawyers stated in their court papers.
In deciding to fire, Purece saw that Steyn "had already shown a propensity to assault an officer" and the plaintiff appeared to be moving toward the fallen officer to continue his assault or to penetrate the skirmish line, according to the city's attorney's court papers.
In his suit, Steyn maintained he was shot while taking part in a May 30, 2020, protest, one of many throughout the country in the wake of the in- custody death five days earlier of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in Minneapolis.
At no time before Steyn was shot did he hear any officer issue a lawful dispersal order, provide time for demonstrators to disperse, warn the crowd that less-lethal firearms would be deployed if protesters did not disperse or provide any direct orders to the plaintiff, according to his court papers.
The suit stated that Capt. Stacy Spell of the LAPD's Media Relations Division narrated a video in which the LAPD alleges the plaintiff kicked an officer, causing him to fall on his back. But if the officer did fall, he "then quickly stood back up, uninjured," according to the plaintiff's court papers, which further stated that the LAPD officer who shot Steyn did so in retaliation for the plaintiff allegedly kicking the other officer.