LAPD Active Scene

Judge Grants BLM Request for TRO to Prohibit LAPD From Using “Less Lethal” Munitions

April 20, 2021, Los Angeles, CA. - - U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall granted-in-part Black Lives Matter class action plaintiffs’ request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) restricting Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers from using 40mm and 37mm launchers in public demonstrations except by officers who are properly trained and certified to use the less-lethal launchers.

In her order issued yesterday, Judge Marshall stated that the LAPD: 

  1. Must give a verbal warning to disperse consistent with the LAPD use of force directive and a reasonable opportunity to comply before deploying a 40mm or 37mm launcher, except when an officer is attacked.
  2. The 40mm and 37mm less-lethal launcher may only be used on persons who pose a threat of serious bodily harm to others, including law enforcement.
  3. The 40mm launcher must not be used to target the head, neck, face, eyes, or spine of a person.
  4. LAPD is restricted from aiming the launchers at the upper bodies of demonstrators and within five feet.

Plaintiffs in Black Lives Matter Los Angeles et al v. City of Los Angeles, et al. requested the TRO as part of their class action lawsuit against the LAPD. They allege the LAPD used unnecessary and excessive force with batons and rubber bullets to terminate the May 30, 2020 protests, including the indiscriminate and so-called “less lethal” weapons causing injury, and violating nonviolent demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. Further, Plaintiffs allege the LAPD prolonged handcuffing and subjected demonstrators to improper conditions of confinement, after unlawfully detaining more than 2,600 people peacefully protesting the wrongful death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police offer, Derick Chauvin, who was found guilty on all counts by a MN jury today for murdering George Floyd.

Our co-counsel in this case, Carol A. Sobel of Law Office of Carol A. Sobel and Paul L. Hoffman of Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes, LLP briefed and argued the request for the TRO. This is a great and important victory for members of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), protestors everywhere, and the public at large.

Baum Hedlund also represents C.J. Montano, a young Marine Corps Veteran, in his police misconduct lawsuit against the LAPD, for severely injuring him on the day of the May 30 protests in which he was peacefully protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. LAPD officers shot Mr. Montano in the head at close range with a “less lethal” munition as he was slowly backing away from a line of police officers while facing them with his hands up.

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