The weapons used by police to disperse crowds of protestors have often been called “non-lethal” by the officials and police officers who use them. However, recent studies and reports indicate that these weapons are far from “non-lethal” and that in some cases they can cause serious injury and even death. Several medical journals have written about the types of injuries pellet guns and rubber bullets can cause and the New York Times recently published an investigative piece about the specific serious injuries that some victims have sustained. The facts are sobering and disturbing.
The Law Offices of Oscar Syger is a personal injury law firm in Pembroke Pines, Florida that works with individuals who have been hurt due to the negligence or neglect of another person or party. Our law firm can help you and your family seek justice if you or a loved one were seriously injured due to police brutality or due to crowd control measures used by the police. Have questions about your rights if you were injured in a protest? The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Oscar Syger in Pembroke Pines, Florida may be able to help you.
What are the Personal Injury Risks of “Non-Lethal” Weapons?
Research published by the British Medical Journal indicates that non-lethal weapons used by police to control crowds and protests are anything but non-lethal. Of 1,984 people struck by non-lethal weapons, 53 people died from their injuries and another 300 people experienced permanent disabilities as a result of the use of police force when police used non-lethal weapons. The most serious injuries involved situations where rubber bullets or pellets struck a person in the head or neck. Other injuries can occur when these projectiles penetrate the skin or skull and cause internal organ damage. Researchers writing for the British Medical Journal concluded that because of the risk of using pellet guns and rubber bullets, these weapons should not be considered safe crowd control measures. Despite this, they are often used in protests and in settings where police want to control crowds.
Another study published in BMJ Military Health noted the risks of pellet gun use. The researchers found that six people have died due to pellet gun use and another 685 have suffered eye injuries, 45 of which resulted in blindness. The researchers noted an “unusually large number of fractures and deep wounds.” The researchers estimated that anywhere between 3000 and 4000 of these rounds have been shot. If 685 people have suffered eye injuries, this means that about 17% of people struck by these bullets suffer injuries.
As thousands of people took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd and to support Black Lives Matter, reports of police using crowd control measures have also increased. The New York Times recently published an investigative report on the types of injuries victims have sustained when police used “non-lethal” methods to control crowds. The injuries noted were serious. One man suffered an injury to his groin, had to undergo surgery, and was told by his doctor that he might never have children. Others were struck in the head, suffered brain damage, and had to undergo surgery. Another round struck a man in the mouth, affecting his ability to speak. In other cases, the bullets penetrated the skin, resulting in risks to the vital organs including the lungs. Rubber bullets are often shot from grenade launchers. The bullets are designed to hit the fleshy parts of a person’s body like the buttocks or thighs, but when these bullets strike a person in the head or neck, they can be deadly. When the bullets penetrate the skin they can sometimes cause internal injuries. Other types of crowd control measures like flash bangs or tear gas can also be dangerous. These can cause ear or eye injuries and in some cases can cause serious respiratory distress.
What rights do you have if you’ve been injured by police in a protest? If these crowd control measures resulted in your injury, you may have rights. It is clear from the research that these crowd control measures can kill. Why are police still using them? We may see a future where more individuals and families fight back either through individual personal injury lawsuits or through class action suits against the police forces that continue to use these weapons. The Law Offices of Oscar Syger is a personal injury law firm in Pembroke Pines, Florida that works with individuals and families who have been affected by the negligence or neglect of another person or party. If you were hurt in a protest, you may have rights. Reach out to the Law Offices of Oscar Syger today or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with the personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Oscar Syger.