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  • Steve Kirby

LAPD’s use of batons, other weapons appears to violate rules, significantly injuring protesters

As smoke from a nearby car fire billowed up, the police batons came raining down. Deon Jones felt one lash across his back and shoulder as he ran. Glancing back, he saw a Los Angeles police officer aim a tactical gun right at his face.

The pain was sudden and searing. Ringing filled his ears. At the hospital, a doctor told the 28-year-old protester that he would have been blinded had the police projectile struck an inch to the right — and dead had it hit an inch higher, at his temple. Instead, he had two cracked bones in his face, a head injury and stitches across his cheek.

“We are protesting police brutality,” Jones said, “and then being brutalized by police while we’re protesting.”

A Times review of dozens of instances of police force during protests over the killing in police custody of George Floyd found that demonstrators suffered a range of injuries at the hands of the LAPD, from minor bruising from baton strikes and falls as police skirmish lines advanced, to serious injuries to their genitals and heads from foam and sponge bullets and beanbags being launched into crowds, sometimes from close range. To date, there has been no formal assessment of how many protesters were hurt.

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