The social-media-captured death of George Floyd has sparked a fire to an already brewing turmoil concerning the tactics of police and the way our communities are policed. Floyd’s death has created a more visible and vocal frustration, restlessness, and fear. In response to his death, protests erupted all over the world in support of policy reform to change how police can interact and restrain individuals in custody.
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In the midst of the protest against police brutality, social media has continued to capture police brutality against protesters across the United States. In one example, a 75 year old man is seen pushed over by Buffalo police and in another, the NYPD are caught on video striking nonviolent protesters with batons.
Human rights organization Amnesty International analyzed more than 500 social media videos from protests against police brutality in recent weeks, and found 125 incidents of police violence across 40 states.
Police have been using nonlethal weapons to disperse crowds during peaceful protest. These nonlethal weapons include tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, and flash rounds. Though they are classified as “nonlethal weapons,” they have been causing serious and potentially permanent injuries to protesters. The New York Times reported, the rubber bullets—as well as tear gas, flash-bangs and beanbag rounds—that protesters around the country have faced in marches against racial injustice, have been deemed “nonlethal weapons” by law enforcement officials and the military, who use them regularly around the world. But research increasingly shows they can seriously injure and disable people—and sometimes even kill.
In examples described by the The New York Times, it is apparent that nonlethal weapons are dangerous and can cause some serious injuries including:
In 2017, the British Medical Journal published several decades of research on the use of rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, and other projectiles during arrests and protests. They found that 15 percent of people who were injured were left with permanent disabilities and 3 percent of those who were injured died. Of those who survived, 71 percent had severe injuries, with their extremities most frequently impacted.
Based on the reports from The New York Times and the British Medical Journal, and the evidence presented via social media, police agencies may want to consider changing the names of these tactics from “nonlethal” to “less lethal.” The injuries sustained by the peaceful protesters are likely to have serious and long-lasting effects.
There may be peaceful protesters in the Chicago area who were injured by police and who may not be aware of their options to pursue a claim. It is important to do the following in the event you or someone you know are injured by police:
Should you or someone you know are injured by Chicago police using nonlethal weapons, call us for a free consultation so we can assist.