A 23-year-old Los Angeles filmmaker is suing the city’s police department after being shot with rubber bullets during a summertime protested.
According to CBS Local-Los Angeles, the plaintiffs include the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department—and plaintiff Asim Jamal Shakir, Jr.’s own uncle, who is an officer on the force.
According to The L.A. Times, Shakir had been playing video games in his apartment when he heard the sounds of a Black Lives Matter protest taking place outside. Curious—and still disturbed by the recent murder of George Floyd—Shakir went outside.
Within minutes, Shakir recounted, the protesters were outnumbered by police.
He decided to take action, approaching Black officers and asking them to take off their uniforms and joint with protesters.
“The fact that George Floyd’s life was just taken, and all of these African American officers were standing next to their counterparts and inflicting more harm on the things we were protesting for, was just very disturbing,” Shakir said in a Tuesday interview.
However, Shakir then spotted his uncle, Officer Eric Anderson, among the LAPD forces.
“Our ancestors are turning over in their grave right now, Eric!” Shakir shouted. “Look at me in my eyes, Eric! […] You know how your daddy feeling right now? That could have been you!”
The incident, notes The Los Angeles Times, was captured on another protester’s cell phone.
As Shakir continued to challenge his uncle, two shots can be heard—after which Shakir is seen to be stricken by rubber bullets.
Shakir’s lawsuit now claims that his uncle ordered other officers to fire upon him.
In his complaint, Shakir relays his belief that the police had an unwarranted fear of him, that he “presented a serious threat to someone’s safety,” just because he is Black.
“This lawsuit demonstrates the heart-rending extent to which the current warrior mentality permeates the Los Angeles Police Department, threatening to destroy a Black family to its core from within,” the lawsuit states.
Carl Douglas, an attorney for Shakir, said this lawsuit is noteworthy for the relationship between his client and one of the plaintiffs.
“Cops have always talked to other cops: ‘We’re not white, we’re not Black, we’re blue.’ I always thought that was balderdash,” Douglas told The Los Angeles Times. “This case alarmed me and touched me like no other in my 42 years, because never have I ever heard of an officer knowing the subject of his abuse—let alone them drawing from the same bloodline.”