Police

Fractured Skulls, Lost Eyes: Police Often Break Own Rules Using ‘Rubber Bullets’

Warning: Graphic images and video below.

Megan Matthews thought she was dying.

“I thought my head was blown off,” said Matthews, 22, who was hit in the eye with a sponge-tipped projectile fired by law enforcement at a May 29 protest in Denver. “Everything was dark. I couldn’t see.”

Matthews, a soft-spoken art major who lives with her mother, had gone to the demonstration against police brutality carrying bandages, water bottles and milk so she could provide first aid to protesters.

“I couldn’t really grasp how bad my injury was,” said Matthews, who sustained injuries including a broken nose, fractured facial bones and multiple lacerations on her face. “So much blood was pouring out. I was wearing a mask, and the whole mask was filling up with blood. I was trying to breathe through it. I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t stop breathing.’”

Megan Matthews was hit in the eye with

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Fighting COVID And Police Brutality, Medical Teams Take To Streets To Treat Protesters

DENVER — Amid clouds of choking tear gas, booming flash-bang grenades and other other “riot control agents,” volunteer medics plunged into street protests over the past weeks to help the injured — sometimes rushing to the front lines as soon as their hospital shifts ended.

Known as “street medics,” these unorthodox teams of nursing students, veterinarians, doctors, trauma surgeons, security guards, ski patrollers, nurses, wilderness EMTs and off-the-clock ambulance workers poured water — not milk — into the eyes of tear-gassed protesters. They stanched bleeding wounds and plucked disoriented teenagers from clouds of gas, entering dangerous corners where on-duty emergency health responders may fear to go.

Many are medical professionals who see parallels between the front lines of COVID-19, where they confront stark racial imbalances among those stricken by the coronavirus, and what they see as racialized police brutality.

So donning cloth masks to protect against the virus — plus

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Barr Says Police Didn’t Use Chemical Irritants To Clear Area By DC Church. They Did.

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Police Using Rubber Bullets On Protesters That Can Kill, Blind Or Maim For Life

In cities across the country, police departments have attempted to quell unrest spurred by the death of George Floyd by firing rubber bullets into crowds, even though five decades of evidence shows such weapons can disable, disfigure and even kill.

In addition to rubber bullets — which often have a metal core — police have used tear gas, flash grenades, pepper spray gas and projectiles to control crowds of demonstrators demanding justice for 46-year-old George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, while other officers restrained his body. Some peaceful demonstrations have turned violent, with people smashing windows, setting buildings afire and looting stores.

The use by police of rubber bullets has provoked outrage, as graphic images have flashed on social media showing people who have lost an eye or suffered other injuries after being hit.

I just got hit by a rubber bullet near

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