Former ANC spy charged with assault in LA after Black Lives Matter protest
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Johannesburg - Bradley Steyn, a former ANC spy who was badly injured by police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles, has been charged with assault in the same incident.
Steyn was rushed to hospital on May 30 last year for emergency surgery on a ruptured testicle after he was hit by a projectile fired by a Los Angeles police officer.
The 49-year-old South African is suing the city for the incident. However yesterday it emerged he is being charged with assaulting an officer and resisting or obstructing an officer. His lawyers have called the move retaliatory.
The incident has had a lot of media play over the last couple of months, partly because Steyn had shared his experience of being shot and rushed to the emergency room. This was then countered by the LAPD releasing body camera footage of Steyn allegedly lunging forwards an officer and attempting to kick him, moments before he was shot.
It has been suggested Steyn’s alleged actions gave a second officer cause to see him as a threat and shoot him.
Meanwhile Steyn and his supporters have called the shooting incident as representing excessive force. He was also struck across the chest with a baton during the same incident.
Steyn, a survivor of the Pretoria Strijdom square mass shooting that happened in 1989 and is a co-author of a book about his days as a spy for the ANC, now lives just outside Los Angeles.
He has accused the police of not following procedure and directly firing at his testicles. Steyn and his lawyers have also accused the LAPD of being selective of the heavily edited footage they released on You Tube.
LAPD procedure requires that officers firing that particular projectile used in riot control target an individual’s belt line. Also they can only fire if officers or others in the crowd are threatened.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Steyn’s attorney Jerod Gunsberg said there was plenty of evidence out there that tells the full truth. He added he was looking forward to fighting the case.
The city attorney’s office however said the charges were completely unrelated to the lawsuit.
The police body camera video which was released in August shows Steyn standing near the front of the crowd of protesters, directly opposite a line of officers.
When the officers scream for the protesters to leave the area, Steyn responded by shouting “Shut the f— up.”
He then accused the officers of using excessive force.
At one point a man passing the line of police is shoved by an officer. This appears to cause Steyn and the crowd to get upset.
Steyn is then caught on video lunging towards the policeman. In an interview with the LA Times, Steyn claimed he was trying to defend the man who had been shoved.
In the interview Steyn said the incident had reminded him of the Strijdom Square massacre where white supremacist Barend Strydom killed eight people and injured 16 others.
Steyn had witnessed the shooting as a 17-year-old in 1988 and this he said had caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress.