AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man has filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin and an unidentified Austin Police Department officer in connection to injuries he sustained during a May Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Anthony Evans says he was shot in the head with a beanbag round while unarmed and attempting to leave the demonstration on May 31. The shot, the lawsuit says, required surgery to repair his broken jaw.
“Shooting someone in the head while they are merely exercising their free speech rights should not be tolerated at any responsible police department,” said Jeff Edwards, Evans’ attorney. “Anthony went out that day to lend his voice to help prevent further violence against unarmed minorities. Incredibly, the Austin Police Department responded by shooting him in the head and breaking his jaw.”
The lawsuit claims the officer shot Evans because he is Black—and also pointed to former APD assistant chief Justin Newsom, who retired amid a complaint he “used the “N” word to describe African-Americans,” as evidence of culture of discrimination.
The lawsuit says that the officer, as far as Evans and his attorneys know, has not been disciplined.
After several complaints against APD’s use of force were filed during the summer, APD Chief Brian Manley announced the department would not longer use bean bag rounds during crowd situations.
The City of Austin said it will continue to review claims related to the May 2020 protests.
“Because there were many individuals involved in the events, it takes time to sort through everything. The Police Department, along with the Office of Police Oversight, and the Law Department will review each claim, and the city will work directly with the individual protestors and their lawyers,” a City of Austin spokesperson said in a statement.