Los Angeles: Police Shoot Protester in Head with ‘Less-Lethal’ Round, Deny Medical Attention and Legal Council

By Serran Soledad

On Saturday night, an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shot Benson Williams in the head using a ‘less-than-lethal’ beanbag round during a protest in Hollywood, landing him in the hospital with 19 stitches. Williams, who is a Black man, was subsequently arrested and is facing one charge of ‘Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer.’

Marking one year since the murder of Breonna Taylor at the hands of Louisville Metro Police Department, close to 200 protesters gathered at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery before marching through the greater Hollywood area.

According to reports, Williams was at the front helping guide the march and direct traffic when LAPD arrived in SWAT gear, using teargas, batons, and “less-lethal” rounds to repress the protest.

Groups of protesters stood off against police, with video footage posted on social media showing small skirmishes and arrests taking place. One clip shows what appears to be an AC-unit being thrown at a SWAT police officer’s head from the crowd.

It was around this time when Williams was shot in the head with a ‘less-lethal’ 12-gauge shotgun round from just 10-feet away.

Protesters attempted to flee, but before anyone could render aid, multiple LAPD officers tackled Williams, slamming his already bloodied head into the ground. He was then thrown into the back of a police vehicle for an hour, begging for medical attention before passing out from blood loss. Other protesters were targeted for arrest as well.

When paramedics arrived, police pulled Williams from the vehicle and forced him to stand for 10 minutes, causing him to lose consciousness for a second time.

Paramedics arrived and questioned Williams regarding his injury. When he explained that he had been shot in the head by the police, an officer told the paramedics he was lying. Paramedics siding with LAPD, denied William’s multiple requests for water and neglected to provide him medical care.

Once he arrived at the emergency room, Williams was handcuffed to a hospital bed. Suffering from a concussion, he threw up bile while continuing to fall in and out of consciousness.

Williams was later taken to jail and interrogated by LAPD, who denied him a phone call and legal council upon multiple requests. His bloodied clothes were also seized and disposed of by police, who claimed they were hazardous.

Williams later posted bail and was released, but is facing a charge that carries a sentence of up to 8 years in state prison. Protesters who were on the ground Saturday deny Williams’ involvement in throwing the AC-unit, and there has been no proof to justify the  ‘Assault with a Deadly Weapon’ charge.

Tribune of the People encourages its readers to donate to the fundraiser set up by Williams’ family and friends to cover medical bills and legal fees.

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