Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist, Fahren James, age 39, filed a lawsuit against Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Michael Moore and the Los Angeles Police Department, for an alleged assault by unidentified Los Angeles police officers.
Ms. James and her attorney, Jim DeSimone of V. James DeSimone Law group, held an online press conference regarding the lawsuit. DeSimone stated, “This is not a moment, but a movement where we’re going to effect change in how policing is done both in Los Angeles and throughout the country.”
On, May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, unforgettably used a fatal knee-to-neck restraint on George Floyd. As a result of officer Chauvin’s knee pressing down on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, forty-six seconds, and cruelly ignoring Floyd’s pleas for air; the unarmed George Floyd died in public view on the street in downtown Minneapolis.
On May 30, 2020, just as tens of millions of Americans did, Mrs. James abounded the streets to protest police brutality and the lack of legislative accountability. During the press conference, James stated, “I witnessed George Floyd’s life being sucked out of him … I wanted to go in the streets and stand with the people who were vocal about police brutality in this nation, and how police have continued to over police and underserve us.”
The case claims, “Ms. James was peacefully exercising her First Amendment rights, LAPD officers ambushed her, repeatedly striking her with a baton and shooting rubber bullets at her from close range causing hospitalization, permanent physical injury, and mental and emotional trauma.”
James stated, “I was jammed in the back with a baton, and after that, two shots fired close range. One [shot] lodging into my stomach, and the other into my arm.”
Late in the afternoon, she witnessed LAPD officers enter, filing the CBS parking lot in West Hollywood. During such, LAPD fired non-lethal bullets to maintain the group. “I was in total dismay. I could not believe what was happening to me. I could not believe what was happening to the people around me as we were standing there. People were getting shot with their hands up, as did I, with no provocation,” said James.
The lawsuit claims, “LAPD officers, at no time, announced any order or command to Ms. James, nor were any general orders to disperse announced. Ms. James had turned away from the officers for a brief period of time when, without provocation, a female LAPD officer struck Ms. James on her back with a baton. Ms. James turned toward the LAPD officer and asked why the officer struck her with the officer’s baton as she placed her arms in front of her to protect herself from further injury. The LAPD officer jabbed Ms. James in her torso and her elbow with the baton multiple times. A male LAPD officer, next to the female officer that beat Ms. James with her baton, held the gun that shot projectiles aimed at Ms. James. The officer directly shot James twice from point-blank range with bullets that left metal fragments in her stomach. One shot struck her in the abdomen and another shot struck James under her left arm, which she raised in vain to protect herself.”
As of late, Black Lives Matter activists have expressed outrage to the tepid response of law enforcement during the breach at Capitol Hill; with a discouraged emphasis on the violent mob of White protestors defacing the 228-year-old building known for its legislative dealings, as well as threaten government officials. This is a stark contrast to what nonviolent protestors endure when faced with masses of law enforcement in full riot gear, and with authorization to use tear-gas, rubber bullets and batons.
In reference to the breach at Capitol Hill, James stated “Last week, we saw what paled in comparison to what we experienced being peaceful. As people stormed the capitol, this was not only a gut-check for me, but this also was something that retraumatized me, and made me reflect back on how forceful the police were.”
Concluding the press conference, James’ attorney DeSimone stated, “The City of Los Angeles faces a monumental liability concern because of what happen to Fahren James and other individuals. We don’t want to just stop at the individual officer who pulled the trigger, twice. We don’t want to just stop at the individual officer who hit Fahren James with a baton when her back was turned when she was peacefully protesting, who made the decision within the LAPD that they can shoot indiscriminately into a crowd with rubber bullets when people are peacefully protesting? That is reckless, that is outrageous, and that is against the law.”
Since this is a pending litigation, the LAPD has not yet made a response.