SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Civil right activists and lawyers are hoping the court system can force San Diego County law enforcement agencies to change the way they deal with protests.
On Thursday, a group of lawyers announced a half-dozen claims and lawsuits against the La Mesa Police Department, San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for what they call unnecessary use of force during recent protests.
Dante Pride represents four of the claimants, including Leslie Furcron, the woman hit in the head by a bean bag round fired during a protest outside La Mesa police headquarters on May 30.
Pride said Furcron suffered multiple fractures in her face, has no vision in her left eye, has problems walking, has problems remembering, and difficulty with balance.
"All because she decided to come out, as she is entitled to do, and protest," said Pride.
Pride’s other clients have injuries ranging from broken fingers to severe cuts and contusions from being hit by what officers call "less lethal" rounds.
"The manner in which these things were used, shot indiscriminately into crowds, these are lethal methods being used," said Pride.
Other claims stem from protests across the city in the days that followed.
Gerald Singleton said his two clients are the "epitome" of peaceful protesters, who were simply standing in the crowd when they were hit by what he calls "rubber bullets."
"Anybody who embraces this movement is, unfortunately, under the current police culture, viewed as an enemy, and they're treated accordingly,” Singleton said.
The claims ask for monetary damages to cover medical expenses. They also call for sweeping changes to police tactics and the end of any use of force that could "escalate" an encounter.
"The recent conduct of local law enforcement agencies has sparked the need for systemic change," said San Diego ACLU President David Loy. "Instead of lashing out against demonstrators, law enforcement should be listening to them and hearing their concerns."
The San Diego Police Department says due to the litigation they do not have a comment.
A spokesperson for the La Mesa Police Department tells 10News, "The La Mesa Police Department cannot provide comment relating to any pending litigation. We encourage any member of the public that believes they suffered injury as a result of force used by any of our officers to contact us so that their incident can be investigated."