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LAPD Investigating After Homeless Man In Wheelchair Was Allegedly Shot In Face With Rubber Bullet

LAPD Investigating After Homeless Man In Wheelchair Was Allegedly Shot In Face With Rubber Bullet
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

WARNING: The images contained in this article are graphic in nature and may be disturbing for some viewers.

A personnel investigation was initiated after a man was allegedly struck in the face by a rubber bullet as protestors faced off against Los Angeles police.

A witness told Buzzfeed News that the victim appeared to be in the line of fire.

Photos from the incident show the injured individual, believed to be a homeless man, lurched forward in his wheelchair with blood dripping down his face.

Josh Rubenstein—a spokesman for the LAPD—said:

"We are aware of the photo and the allegations and we are still trying to understand the context and circumstances around what happened."

The incident occurred on Tuesday evening during curfew in downtown Los Angeles.

With hundreds of protesters still in the streets, police began moving in to make arrests and take people into custody.

Sarah Reingewirtz, a photographer with Southern California News Group, was covering the protests that day when she first spotted the man near a group of demonstrators.

"You could see him sitting in the street, looking at everyone and he was fine."

The man—who was reported as not actively engaged in the protest—was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Reingewirtz told Buzzfeed:

"I heard one of the rubber bullets go off, and then [police] came up, and they told us to get back.
He looked like he might have been screaming."
"He was in between protesters and police, and I saw him in the street, bleeding."

The photographer began taking photos, capturing the man in the wheelchair with police in the background holding the rubber bullet launchers.

Advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Los Angeles Police Department and its chief—alleging excessive force and civil rights violations against protestors.

According to BLM LA:

"the LAPD used force to terminate the protests, including the indiscriminate use of `less lethal' weapons that caused injury."

The man in the wheelchair was referred to as "Cincinatti" in the Complaint for Damages and Declaratory and Injunctive Relief.

The suit read:

"He pleaded with police not to use force on him before being shot in the face."
"But he was not the only disabled person in a wheelchair to be struck in the face by a rubber bullet as the LAPD enforced curfew laws and other misdemeanors in the last week."
"Most, if not all of these individuals, are unhoused and had no place they could go to avoid violating the curfew,
"They were all tightly handcuffed from the time they were arrested, transported across town to Brentwood, held for processing and then released, homeless on the streets of Los Angeles during a city-wide curfew,

The suit also alleged the LAPD's use of "kettling"—a detaining tactic that was used against the protestors who were left handcuffed for hours with no food, water, or access to bathrooms.

"All members of the arrest class were held in this manner for a minimum of several hours, with some held more than 12 hours in these excruciatingly painful conditions."

As of Friday, the LAPD said they had no updates on the injured victim.

"Unfortunately we can not speculate on what caused this individuals injury without further investigation."