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Related Categories: East Bay | Police State & Prisons
Protester Shot by WCPD Projectile at Close Range
by Anon
Saturday Oct 31st, 2020 4:36 PM
On the night of Friday October 23rd, Walnut Creek police shot a protester at close range with a projectile round. The protester made no threat to the officer. The projectile caused injury to the protester, who was fortunately wearing a ballistic vest.
Footage of the incident is currently on Twitter, showing a member of the Walnut Creek police shooting a protester at close range with a projectile. [https://twitter.com/xochipilli415/status/1321878458901823488] The protester did not approach the officer, nor make any threatening motion towards the officer. At the time he was shot with the projectile, the protester was standing by himself in the street. He was not a threat to WCPD.

There have been regular protests for police reform, police accountability, and for social justice for marginalized residents of Walnut Creek. These protests are organized by local youth leadership. During a protest march on October 23rd, a SUV attempted to drive through the protesters. Protesters stopped the vehicle. The police showed up on the scene, and attacked the protesters.

The police use the term foam baton, because it sounds soft and harmless. Some agencies use the term sponge round. These projectiles are not toys. The foam is not the airy, light polymers found in Nerf products. They are kinetic projectiles with hard tips meant to impact with force. [https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/kinetic_impact_projectiles.pdf]

After the protester was shot with the projectile, he had to receive treatment at the hospital. During this time, he was handcuffed to the hospital bed. [https://twitter.com/SamsonForWC/status/1320133148752007168] According to Defense Technologies, a producer of these products, the projectiles aren't just meant to deter a person, they are designed to incapacitate. [https://www.defense-technology.com/product/direct-impact-le-40-mm-extended-range-inert-crushable-foam-round/] There was no reason for WCPD to attempt to incapacitate the protester who was shot with the projectile. The protester had the foresight to wear a ballistic vest. If he hadn't, he could have been injured worse than he was.

A second round was also fired at the other protesters, who had backed way from the SUV after the police arrived. There were no recorded injuries that resulted from the second shot. It is not clear from reports if the second shot was a direct impact round, or the type of round that breaks apart. There are rounds that are made up of small discs. When shot, the discs disperse to potentially hit multiple targets.[https://people.howstuffworks.com/riot-control3.htm]

The city of Walnut Creek is at a social crossroads. There have been ongoing protests and calls for reforms since the death of Miles Hall, who was shot by police officers. The police claimed that Miles Hall tried to directly attack them; however this is not what the evidence shows. The body camera footage shows that at the time he was shot, Miles Hall tried to run past the police, not at the police. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy6WWFT19Oc] The WCPD police chief has chosen to retire, and the city is in the process of seeking a new police chief. [https://www.opentownhall.com/portals/125/Issue_9832] Protesters and other residents are demanding that financial resources be taken from the policing budget and spent on mental health crisis intervention. They also want more accountability for WCPD.
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