What US police are shooting at protesters

MINNEAPOLIS: Police across the United States are using a variety of weapons on protesters during demonstrations against the death of an unarmed black man in police custody.

George Floyd died as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, and his death has triggered a wave of protests across the country and around the world.

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While many of the US events have been peaceful, some have turned violent, with scenes of arson, looting and clashes with police.

READ: Washington emblazons defiant Black Lives Matter sign near White House

Police have used a range of weapons against peaceful protesters as well as members of the press during the demonstrations. Described as non-lethal, these weapons can seriously injure, disable and even kill.

FILE PHOTO: Protesters disperse as tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bang devices are deployed by Seattle police during a protest against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

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CHEMICAL IRRITANTS:

Chemical irritants include tear gas and pepper spray, which cause sensations of burning, pain and inflammation of the airways.

Public health and infectious diseases experts have opposed the use of chemical irritants such as tear gas, saying in an online petition that they could increase risk for COVID-19 by “making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection”.

Because chemical irritants can spread widely, bystanders and individuals other than the intended targets can be exposed to the chemicals.

Tear gas has been widely and frequently used by police to disperse protesters. CS or CN gas are chemical compound powders that spray from canisters. They produce a burning sensation in the eyes and mouth that incapacitates.

To protect themselves from pepper spray and other chemical irritants, protesters are dousing themselves with milk to help diffuse the burning sensations.

READ: Tear gas fired outside White House as protesters rage over death of George Floyd

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.

RUBBER, PLASTIC BULLETS:

Protesters have 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 in May.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the citys police department will minimise the use of rubber projectiles during peaceful protests going forward.

FILE PHOTO: The rubber bullet shells from a 40mm less-lethal gun lie on the ground after being launched at protesters rioting near the Target store on University Avenue after the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S. May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher

Kinetic impact projectiles include rubber, plastic, wooden, and “sponger” bullets, which are shot from launchers and guns.

A 2017 survey published by the British Medical Journal found that injuries froRead More – Source