It’s the stuff of nightmares, the mere thought of which would see us drowned in a feverish sweat, shuddering at the idea of such a thing happening to our own bodies. Should you be in possession of testicles, safe to say you’d be guarding those things with your life. In sport, all manner of padding is utilised as protective armour for the Crown Jewels, but outside of the sporting arena things get a little trickier. For one unlucky fella, his worst nightmares became a lived reality as his testicle exploded.
Ben Montemayor was one of countless people taking to the streets in protest in June of last year when news came to light of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. As people around the world called for police reform and accountability for those officers that murdered Floyd, Montemayor was protesting when a Los Angeles police officer shot him with a rubber bullet, causing his testicle to explode. The 29-year-old Montemayor has since filed a lawsuit which will challenge the findings of an LAPD Use of Force Review Board which claimed the officer was within policy when he shot at Montemayor.
As dispersal orders were shouted at those taking place in the protest, Montemayor found himself caught in the crossfire - literally. Claiming he didn’t hear the calls from police as they began advancing, he stood firm with a sign calling for the LAPD to be defunded. According to the claims of the lawsuit: “As Mr. Montemayor stood there, unarmed, not resisting arrest, posing no threat whatsoever to anyone around him, and having just been violently shoved, a third officer less than ten feet away aimed his green [40-millimetre] launcher at Mr. Montemayor and intentionally shot him in the groin with a high-speed plastic, hard foam projectile.”
The result was brutal. Montemayor’s testicles immediately swelled, and according to the lawsuit one even reached the size of a grapefruit - ouch. He then had to undergo emergency surgery which involved ‘piecing back together portions of his testicle which had exploded.’
In a post Montemayor shared to his Instagram at the time, he wrote: “After gifts going to Urgent Care and then receiving an ultrasound at the nearby hospital ER, I was prepped for emergency surgery because the surgeon was afraid if they wasted any time, I might lose my right testicle entirely. It was swollen at least twice the normal size and he said there was only a 40/50 per cent chance it was saveable.”
He continued: “I wanted to shed light on this experience because it has shattered any illusion I had left about the LAPD’s ability to refrain from unnecessary violence/brutality and confirms specifically how indiscriminate their use of such tactics are in dispersion of peaceful protesting.”
Montemayor has since amended the post, admitting that he did have the surgery that Tuesday night. He explained, “It took 2-3 hours and I was released Wednesday evening.” He then added, “I don’t share this experience of mine lightly, but at the encouragement of friends, family, and my own instincts, I think it’s important to be put into words. Please share if you can. It’s imperative the system be held accountable and continued awareness about nationwide police brutality be spread. Thank you to those who’ve helped me recover this last week.”