SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A legal observer was recovering from extensive bruising and a concussion Tuesday after he said police fired some sort of projectile at his face during Saturday night’s protests.
Danny Garza was at the intersection of J and 21st streets when officers started firing projectiles at protesters.
Garza was filming as he said police fired a projectile at his face. He believes it was a rubber bullet.
“I mean, obviously, this hurts. It’s swollen. I can barely see out of this eye,” he told FOX40.
As a member of the National Lawyers Guild, he was not there to protest but to act as a witness in case any protesters’ rights were violated.
Wearing identifying gear like a neon hat, he said he was following orders from the police to stand on the sidewalk when he was hit.
“I expect a wayward, stray pepper ball. I expect maybe a ricochet,” Garza said. “But to have an officer intentionally point a high-velocity rifle at my face at short range while I’m wearing this hat and shoot me in the face, I don’t expect that.”
He was wearing a gas mask at the time but still received a concussion.
“It may have fractured my skull had I not been wearing this mask,” he said.
He said as a nurse was giving him medical aid, officers continued firing.
“We’re yelling, ‘Medic! Medic! Stop shooting! Don’t shoot! Medic! Medic!’” Garza recalled.
He acknowledged reports of protesters throwing rocks and bricks at officers but said he was not involved in that.
“You don’t shoot non-participants in the face with a rubber bullet,” he said. “That’s a little excessive.”
A spokesperson for the Sacramento Police Department said they have not received any reports of the incident but they are now looking into it.
As for Garza, the Sacramento civil rights firm he works for plans to bring a lawsuit against the department.
“Who polices the police?” he said. “That’s what these protests are about and this is a primary example.”