Posted on August 30, 2023

Jury Awards $3.75 Million to Protester Hit by Hard-Foam Police Projectiles

Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2023

A jury awarded $3.75 million in damages this week to a protester shot twice by hard-foam projectiles fired by Los Angeles police, in what is thought to be the biggest award yet in lawsuits stemming from the department’s response to anti-police demonstrations in 2020.

After deliberating for 13 hours, jurors on Wednesday ruled that the department was negligent when one or more of its officers fired the so-called less-lethal devices at Asim Jamal Shakir Jr. during a protest at a downtown intersection.

Shakir had been filming a skirmish line of officers when he recognized his LAPD officer uncle standing among the formation and confronted him, shouting, “Our ancestors are turning over in their grave right now!” Moments later, Shakir alleges, his uncle, Eric Anderson, directed other officers to fire a hard-foam projectile at him.

“As with anything, brother, money talks,” said longtime civil rights attorney Carl Douglas, adding he hoped the large award will signal to department and city leaders that similar acts of police violence cannot be tolerated. {snip}


He said he believed that the $3.75-million payout is the largest so far related to the LAPD’s response to mass protests that rocked in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.


On the day of the incident, Shakir had joined a group of protesters marching in downtown. He was carrying two cellphones and recording himself as he approached every Black officer he saw, urging them to shed their uniforms and join his cause.


Douglas said his client got to the protest late and so didn’t hear the department issuing a dispersal order.


The city is still facing a large class-action lawsuit by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and other groups over its handling of the 2020 protests. Several other suits have already been settled, including one by a protester who was was awarded $1.25 million for being shot with a projectile while he was backing away with his hands above his head.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council approved an $860,000 settlement to Deon Jones, a protester who was shot with a projectile and badly wounded by a city police officer during another Floyd-related protest. Jones claimed his constitutional rights were violated by LAPD Officer Peter Bueno when the officer shot him.