Police partially blinded 8 people in 1 day during BLM protests

An investigative report about the individuals who were partially blinded contradicts official accounts from law enforcement.

George Floyd’s death, the most recent in a series of deaths of black Americans while in police custody, has set off days and nights of protests across the country. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

At least 8 people were partially blinded by police in one day at protests over the killing of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis. 

The Washington Post used cellphone and surveillance videos to reconstruct the circumstances of three of those incidents. Their investigative report contradicts official police accounts of what happened when several individuals were severely injured after officers fired “less lethal” munitions in effort to clear the streets. 

According to The Post, of the eight who lost sight that day, six were protesters, one was a photojournalist, and another was a passerby, 24-year-old John Sanders from Ohio.

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Sanders lost his left eye while walking away from the crowd of demonstrators. Doctors reportedly found 50-100 lead pellets in his eye, “and a third of his eyelid was found in his sinus,” wrote The Post’s video investigations editor Joyce S. Lee on Twitter.

In a follow -up tweet Lee noted that the Sheriff’s department confirmed that deputies fired “less-lethal” rounds “to prevent breaches of the Justice Center.” Such tactics are by the department “control a combative subject.”

In related news, photojournalist Linda Tirado travelled from her home in Nashville to cover the protests in Minneapolis in late May. She ended up spending the night at the hospital after she was struck in the left eye with a rubber bullet.

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“I was honestly just standing there, trying to decide what shot I was going to take, and it was just a really intense pain in my face,” Tirado shared with PEOPLE. “And all of a sudden, I felt blood everywhere. I closed my eyes and started wandering in the direction that I thought was away from cops, yelling, ‘I’m press. I’m press.’ And some of the protestors picked me up, put me in a car and took me to the hospital.”

She added, “I think we know that they’re targeting journalists because there’s no way any officer would have mistaken me for a protester,” Tirado said, “with my camera out and with my press pass dangling from my neck.”

At the hospital Tirado was told her “eyeball nearly exploded.”

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“They said it was nearly separated in two, and so they did the surgery trying to put it back together, but there’s no chance of restoring vision,” she said. “I might be able to see lights and shadows, but the surgery that they did was more cosmetic than anything.”

Despite losing an eye, Tirado has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m going to keep reporting the story,” she said.

Meanwhile, The Post interviewed all eight of those who lost sight that tragic day in May, hear how their truth undermines official accounts via the clip below. 

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