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A Black man is suing the city of Los Angeles, claiming that his own uncle, a member of the police force, allowed for officers to shoot him with rubber bullets during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
In the days following the killing of George Floyd, Asim Jamal Shakir Jr, 23 joined protests in downtown LA and opted to share live footage of the event on social media. While he was doing so, he noticed that his uncle, Eric Anderson, a police officer, was standing in the line that begun to surround him, according to the case filed on 10 May.
Mr Anderson is said to have urged his nephew to leave the protest, and when Mr Shakir refused, his uncle motioned towards him and a fellow officer opened fire with with a “less-than-lethal” weapon, according to the complaint.
Video of the incident shows Mr Shakir crying out in distress, his phone hitting the pavement and then his hand covered in blood after being pelted by the projectile.
“A police supervisor turned his trained wrath against a member of his own family, leaving a promising young entrepreneur, his own blood, scarred, and reeling in the wake of his malicious attack,” the complaint said.
Mr Shakir’s lawsuit is just one of many the city of Los Angeles is facing over its use of aggressive force against protesters. A federal judge has placed limits on the use of projectiles on protesters. It’s unclear how many people suffered injuries during the racial justice protests.
Speaking at a press conference outside the LAPD building, Mr Shakir said, “This whole entire situation has been a tragedy and nothing short of a nightmare.
“This is not just for me, it's for the people that have to opportunity to speak out, that don’t have the opportunity to voice their pain and their hurt.”
Black Lives Matter LA co-founder Dr Melina Abdullah was horrified by the video, telling The Guardian it “speaks volumes about to the complete lack of any kind of moral character, and what happens when people become police... They are willing to sacrifice their own family in order to advance the interests of a police state.”
Black Lives Matter seeks to divert funds away from police and towards more community-based projects under the banner of “defunding the police”. The movement swept into public consciousness during the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. They also critique the increased use of force and militarisation of American police culture.
The Independent reached out to LAPD for comment.