LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — (Eds. note: The video attached is a June 2020 report on the George Floyd protests in Little Rock.)
An Arkansas lawyer is claiming a state trooper injured him during the George Floyd protests in June 2020 which resulted in emergency surgery that had to remove a bean bag round lodged into his face.
The lawsuit alleges that when Don Cook attended the protests on the night of June 1, troopers with the Arkansas State Police began their efforts to disperse the crowd with tear gas around 10 p.m.
After that, troopers "began to indiscriminately fire bean projectiles at protesters."
In the 40-page complaint, Cook's lawyers say that when he was leaving he turned his head and was struck by a bean bag projectile in the face by Trooper Ryan Wingo.
The bean bag reportedly became lodged in Cook's face by his mouth and throat and emergency operation had to surgically remove it.
Michael Laux, Cook's lawyer, alleges the June 2020 actions violated rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment.
"Not only should bean bag rounds never be fired at an individual's face, neck or chest but they should never be authorized for use on a non-violent, compliant protester, such as Mr. Cook, nor to disperse crowds," Laux said in a press release.
Wingo has recently been featured in a YouTube video for his tactics caught on a dashcam during another incident where he pulled over a driver. That incident later resulted in a separate lawsuit in December 2021.
In that lawsuit, it is alleged that Wingo used his police car in a "negligent manner" which resulted in the damage of another vehicle and injuries of two people. It also claims that the Arkansas State Police were "negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Trooper Wingo."
Laux referenced Wingo's background as well as this incident will be discussed during a press conference on Friday, June 10.
They are asking for Wingo to be fired from the Arkansas State Police and that all footage from the June 1 protest be released, including images of "Wingo's use of excessive force against Mr. Cook."
Arkansas State Police said it could not comment on the "pending litigation."