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Man shot by federal officers during Portland protests sues

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 19, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

PORTLAND – A man who was protesting outside the federal courthouse in Portland when a federal law enforcement officer shot him in the face with a “less lethal” impact munition is suing in federal court.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the lawsuit filed by Donavan LaBella calls the unnamed officer’s actions “unprovoked, unjustifiable, and unlawful.”

LaBella’s injury on July 11, 2020, was captured on video and shared widely. The video depicts then 26-year-old LaBella holding a speaker over his head, pointed at the courthouse. Federal officers turn on a bright light and then an officer fires a less lethal munition, striking LaBella.

Like other protesters who have tried suing federal law enforcement agencies over injuries at protests for racial justice, LaBella’s attorneys have struggled to identify the officers.

The lawsuit names “John Does 1-10” as unknown federal law enforcement officers, believed to be with the U.S. Marshals Service, present or responsible for shooting LaBella.

Desiree LaBella, Donavan’s mother, said Thursday that the people responsible for injuring her son need to be held accountable.

“As much as we wish it didn’t have to come to this, he’s irreparably damaged,” she said.

He now suffers from a debilitating and permanent frontal lobe brain injury which has negatively altered the course of (his) life,” the lawsuit states.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also conducting a criminal investigation of the incident.

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