LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An activist Monday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department claiming she was subject to inhumane treatment during an arrest while taking part in a George Floyd protest earlier this month in downtown L.A.
Laura Montilla, 22, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that on the evening of June 1 she was detained for violating curfew and had her wrists zip-tied tightly for six hours as she and other protesters were packed onto a bus, during which time they were denied food and water.
Police heard screams for help from the bus, but “responded by blaring heavy metal music while Montilla remained handcuffed in a prone position in the dark.”
She said that when she spoke, up, officers threatened her with guns.
“They’re protected by a system that holds no one accountable, and provides no incentive for law enforcement to even abide by the law themselves. And this was not an isolated incident, I’ve spoken with so many other people who were there who have chillingly similar stories,” Montilla told reporters at a news conference Monday.
The bus eventually arrived at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium, 13 miles from where the arrests had been made, Montilla alleges.
She claims that near Fifth and Main streets, uniformed law enforcement equipped with less-than-lethal weapons and tactical riot gear surrounded a small group of peaceful protesters, including herself, utilizing a boxed-in tactic known as kettling.
Kneeling on the ground to display compliance, Montilla “personally witnessed officers physically attack, strike and” fire stun guns at “individuals who had attempted to peacefully leave the area in compliance with the curfew,” according to the complaint, which alleges arresting officers did not read Montilla her rights when taking her into custody.
The LAPD provided CBSLA with the following statement.
“While the Los Angeles Police Department does not comment on pending litigation, we are committed to investigating every allegation of misconduct or excessive force related to the recent protests. We have assigned 40 investigators to look into each alleged instance and will conduct a thorough investigation.”
The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office earlier this month announced that no charges would be brought against protesters arrested for violating curfew.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)