Tear Gas, Pepper Spray to Flashbangs - What US police are shooting at protesters
Police across the United States are using a variety of weapons on protesters as demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd intensify. Often described as “non-lethal,” these weapons include tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets. They have sometimes seriously injured protesters.
PEPPER SPRAY AND PEPPER BALLS
Police have shot protesters with pepper spray both from handheld devices and projectiles. While pepper spray is chemically distinct from tear gas, it produces similar effects: burning and watering of the eyes and skin.
Police have also fired pepper balls, small projectiles containing chemical irritants. Such projectiles can contain PAVA spray, an irritant similar to pepper spray, as well as CS gas. The balls can be shot from launchers or modified paintball guns. (Photo: Reuters)
RUBBER AND PLASTIC BULLETS
Protesters have also been hit by a variety of rubber, plastic, and “sponger” bullets. Reuters journalists in Minneapolis were shot by police with 40mm hard plastic projectiles during a protest on Saturday.
In Los Angeles, police have used rubber projectiles, and Mayor Eric Garcetti has said the police department will minimize their use going forward.
A 2017 survey published by the British Medical Journal found that injuries from such “kinetic impact projectiles” caused death in 2.7% of cases. (Photo: Reuters)