The 18-year-old man who was struck in the head with a bean bag round while driving through the La Mesa protests on May 30 has filed a lawsuit against the county and the deputy who allegedly fired the shot.
According to the complaint, Tyler Astorga says he and his friends drove to La Mesa Boulevard to participate in the protests over the death of George Floyd and discrimination by police.
While driving near city hall, Astorga allegedly yelled an obscenity at police officers. Moments later he says he was hit in the forehead, inches from his right eye, with a bean bag round. According to his lawsuit, other rounds hit his car.
Astorga received stitches and was examined for injuries at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
In an interview four days after, Astorga told NBC 7 that the deputy who fired the round, identified in the lawsuit as Kevin Boegler, was “standing like 10 feet away from me when he shot me.”
Astorga’s lawsuit is the second lawsuit against a law enforcement officer for injuries caused by bean bag rounds.
Last month, Leslie Furcron sued the City of La Mesa as well as the La Mesa Police Detective who fired the bean bag round that struck her in the forehead during the same protest.
Attorney Dante Pride represents Furcron and Astorga. Pride said law enforcement officers should be held accountable for the use of force during the demonstrations.
“We filed this lawsuit because once again, San Diego’s feeble District Attorney Summer Stephan, refuses to hold officers accountable for obvious misconduct and blatant policy violations. Mr. Astorga, an 18-year-old kid at the time of this incident, is not alleged to have thrown a single item nor is he alleged to have been a threat to any officer whatsoever,” Pride told NBC 7.
“Shooting first, and asking questions after, seems to be the manner in which officers have been trained to conduct themselves when it comes to issues of racial justice. We were all witness to a different standard when it comes to issues of unproven and potentially unfounded cries about election fraud. Mr. Astorga was less than an inch from losing his eye, for engaging in absolutely no illegal conduct,” Pride said.
A spokesperson for the county declined to comment on the lawsuit due to pending litigation.