A Florida police officer pushed a kneeling protester to the ground. Then his black colleague stepped in
A Florida police officer is under investigation for allegedly shoving a black protester who was kneeling during a protest. But one of his colleagues, a black woman on the force, is receiving praise for appearing to reprimand him after the shove.
McEnany pressed over tactics used on protesters
CNN's Jim Acosta presses White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany after she said that "no tear gas was used and no rubber bullets were used" during protests in Washington.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis denounces Trump
"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try," Mattis wrote.
Why Trump has the FBI, ICE and TSA patrolling Washington streets
President Donald Trump's message of law and order has manifested itself in Washington, DC, in a way he's threatened to do in states but has not been able to achieve.
Easy homemade energy bars to sustain and share
This simple energy bar recipe combines nourishing nuts, oats and dried fruit with chocolate and peanut butter. They pack and keep well to help sustain protesters.
NC Walmart reopens days ahead of schedule after looters ransacked store amid George Floyd protests
A Walmart Supercenter in Fayetteville, N.C., reopened Wednesday morning, two days earlier than anticipated following protests related to the death of George Floyd.
3 ex-Minneapolis cops charged in George Floyd’s death, 1 in custody
Former Minneapolis cops Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, Minnesota AG Keith Ellison said Wednesday.
Listen: How Racism Kills Black Americans
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, some leaders have suggested that racism should be declared a public-health crisis. Dr. Sherman James, a Duke University professor emeritus, has made this case for decades. He’s studied the connection between health and discrimination since the 1970s, and he coined the concept of “John Henryism” through years of research in social epidemiology.He joins staff writer James Hamblin and executive producer Katherine Wells on the podcast Social Distance:Listen to the episode here:Subscribe to Social Distance on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or another podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they’re published.What follows is an edited and condensed transcript of their conversation.James Hamblin: One of the things that we're hearing right now is the idea that racism is a public-health issue. And I felt like for you, that is been a defining theme of your work for many years and for other people, this is kind of a moment where they're realizing it for the first time.Sherman James: My first position right out of graduate school was in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And that department had a longstanding interest in racial differences in cardiovascular disease, particularly high blood pressure. The faculty there became interested in finding black psychologists to sort of help work on the social aspects of this incredible epidemic of high blood pressure, particularly in southern blacks.I'm a Southerner. I grew up in South Carolina. And I was intrigued by this. I didn't really know any epidemiology at the time, but I was intrigued. So I went there with the idea that I would focus on trying to understand why these racial differences existed to the great detriment, really, of the black population.Katherine Wells: What were the hypotheses? I mean, did it feel like a mystery at the time?James: Very much so. The reigning hypothesis was genetic, that something about African genes that perhaps interacted with poor diets to make African Americans, particularly working-class Southern African Americans, especially vulnerable to high blood pressure. And that's not unreasonable, but as far as I know, they haven't yet identified with those 'African genes' are.But there was also very keen interest in the role of stress and racial discrimination because several of the senior faculty members were immigrants from South Africa. In fact, the department chairman was an immigrant from South Africa. So, he in particular had a lot of experience with how social, economic, and political marginalization—maybe it would be more accurate to say domination—make black people especially vulnerable to stress-related diseases. So there was a very receptive intellectual environment for someone like me. But I didn't really have a good idea about what I was going to do. It was a gigantic leap of faith on my part and on their point that this naturally worked out.Wells: So what did you set out to do? How do you even start to look at a question like that?James: Well, quite by accident, I hit upon this notion of "John Henryism." We received a big grant from the National Institutes of Health in the late 1970s to do some work on high blood pressure in black and white population in eastern North Carolina. And we made a decision that we wanted to focus specifically on African American men, because that's the group that really is at greatest risk for developing these disorders, very early in adult life. So I thought, okay, to lay the groundwork for intervention they wanted to conduct in this part of the state, I would go and interview some African American men who have high blood pressure. And I guess.Wells: Seems reasonable.James: Yeah, get their story. So I made appointments and drove out. And the very first person that I met was a man by the name of John Martin. A retired farmer. I think he was maybe seventy four at the time. So he agreed to meet with me. And I drove up one hot July, muggy afternoon and sat and began to chat with him. And he told me this amazing story about his early childhood and how he was born into this very impoverished family. His father was a sharecropper, presumably his grandfather was a sharecropper as well, and he made reference to his grandfather, probably talking about someone who was born into slavery.So, born into deep poverty. And as a young man, he decided that he was not going to live his life impoverished in the same way that his father did, working very hard and giving up half of his income to the man who owned the land. It was really serfdom, if you will. It was really slavery by another name. So with the encouragement of his wife, who grew up in a land owning family ... She strongly encouraged him to buy some land in debt. And he did. But he was very, very concerned about being vulnerable economically in the same way that his dad had been. He was able to get a 40-year mortgage from a bank. And he decided that he didn't want to be in debt for 40 years and he wanted to pay it off as quickly as possible. And he vowed that he was paid off in one year.He didn't want to be obligated. So he worked night and day. He was in the fields often seven days a week—14, 16 hours a day. He actually paid off that mortgage in five years.Wells: Wow.James: And then he said: I think maybe that's the reason why my legs are all out of whack as it is, because I think I pushed myself too hard in the fields. So I should have said that in addition to having that high blood pressure. He also had a debilitating case of osteoarthritis. He could barely walk. And he had had a case of a peptic ulcer disease sometime in his 50s that was so severe that 40 percent of his stomach had to be removed. So he had these three major diseases, at the root of which is inflammation and presumably chronic psychological stress. So I thought: Oh, that's really very interesting.I was just blown away by the fact they could pay off this property—about 75 acres—in five years. So after about an hour and a half or so, his wife came in. And she said: John Henry, it's time for lunch and bring your guest with you. And I said: Your name is John Henry? And he said: Yes, my name is John Henry Martin.And so the wheels started turning. John Henry Martin. The legend of John Henry, the steel-driving man who went up against this mechanical steam drill and refused to be defeated by it. He emerged victorious because he just went all-out, mobilized all of his energy—psychological and physical—to defeat this mechanical steam drill in this contest. He won, but then immediately after victory, dropped dead from complete exhaustion. Well, John Henry Martin also went up against a machine. The machine was the sharecropping system. And he was determined to be successful. He was successful, but he paid a very high price.That planted this idea in my mind: John Henryism. Maybe this whole phenomenon that the life of John Henry Martin represented was something that could be called John Henryism. There's a lot of cardiovascular disease in my family. And so I realize that John Henry Martin's story was really the story of my people. It was the story, really, of African Americans writ large, being faced with the machine—the machine that I have in recent years come to call structural racism where the social and economic order is arrayed against you. It's designed to keep you subordinated. It's designed to prevent you from being successful. And if you resist those forces of subjugation, if you refuse to acquiesce and you go against it and you become determined to be successful in the face of these enormous odds, you might very well be successful. But there will be a price to pay.The physiological wear and tear that results from that kind of long term struggle will manifest itself in high blood pressure and so on. And because African Americans are overrepresented in low wage jobs, in physically demanding jobs, in jobs that offer inadequate levels of economic security. And so the wear and tear that results from that, I think, contributes really quite importantly to the epidemic of cardiometabolic diseases in the African American population.Wells: I'm curious, did that finding surprise you?James: Well, it didn't surprise me. I think it surprised a lot of other people. I think it surprised non-African Americans. The John Henryism hypothesis went up against a very powerful counter-narrative, which was that the problem is really genetic and diet.Hamblin: To that point, you sense subsequently showed that this effect plays out in other populations as well, in other countries that there are effects of disenfranchisement or domination. That would undermine any idea that it had to do with a particular group’s genes.James: That's correct. There are two published studies on European populations. So this is not something that is unique to African Americans. I think it really taps into the human condition. Any population that is immersed in very, very trying economic circumstances and members therein struggle against those circumstances try to overcome them. That's the group in that society that's going to be on a faster trajectory to develop these cardiovascular diseases.Hamblin: It sounds like it also is dependent on exactly how rigged the machine is. If you could get together and just vote, that's going to have a different effect than if it seems like the same protests have to happen decade after decade, and there is disenfranchisement and voter suppression and gerrymandering and all these things that make the machine that much harder to beat.James: I think that's exactly right, Jim. If there is a silver lining in this terrible situation that all of us are going through now, it is that I think white Americans increasingly see the necessity of changing the system, of making the political and economic machinery of the country less deadly to people of color, and particularly African Americans. And for me, that's something of a shift, which is not to say that you didn't have a similar kind of alliance across racial lines occurring in the 1960s. As a matter of fact, I doubt very seriously if the changes in social policies that resulted from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, that those structural changes that took place would have taken place without this cross-racial alliance. And particularly the involvement of young whites along with young blacks. I think the same thing is true now.Wells: So I'm going to ask you about solutions, but I want to be clear that I'm not asking you for, like, false hope. I'm just curious, from an epidemiological perspective, are there case studies or examples where you've seen where these metrics of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease actually move in response to social changes or certain types of interventions. Like, what actually works? Are there examples of places where you feel those health metrics respond positively?James: Yes. So the modern Civil Rights Movement began in 1955-56 with the Montgomery bus boycott and the coming on the scene of Martin Luther King Jr. That was obviously a very intense, protracted, and in some respects, deadly struggle to bring down the oppressive system of Jim Crow. That resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and then a few years later, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. But critically, it was the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act that really changed the landscape for black folks, particularly Southern blacks, and resulted in the desegregation of Southern hospitals. So now Southern blacks have access to higher quality medical care that they have been denied forever. So now they have more access to the health-care system because of the change in these public policies.Well, so epidemiologists looked at the black/white differences in mortality from heart disease and stroke, 1955 to 1964. That ten year period. And they found enormous differences in terms of mortality from stroke and heart disease in the black population, particularly the southern black population, compared to whites. Now, if you compare those mortality statistics during that ten year period with 1965 as the baseline year through 1975, what you found was that during that ten year period, there was a remarkable reduction in the death rates from heart disease and stroke in the black population.Wells: It can happen that quickly, even in individuals who had experienced decades of discrimination?James: See, that's the beauty of it. That is the beauty of it. In record time. I mean in epidemiological time, it would be almost instantaneous.
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"CBS Evening News" headlines for Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Here's a look at the top stories making headlines on the "CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell."
Trump's ludicrous photo-op episode was no Churchill moment
A beleaguered Donald Trump needed an idea for the next episode of his tragic television series, American President. Protesters riled by the death of George Floyd, a black man whose killing by police was caught on camera, were massing in cities across the country. The world knew that when protesters gathered near the White House last week, Trump had briefly been taken to shelter in a bunker. He had looked weak and this would not do.
Virginia Gov. Northam to order removal of Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce Thursday that the state will remove an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue.
Feuding ‘American Chopper’ Teutuls build first bike together since 2008
Famously feuding "American Chopper" stars Paul Teutul Sr. and Jr. have reunited to build their first bike together in over a decade.
Cities criticized for shutting down bikeshare amid protests, pandemic
US cities are drawing criticism from bike advocates and Lyft, the country's largest bikeshare operator, for shutting down the bikeshare systems that city officials previously deemed as essential during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Four former Minneapolis police officers charged in death of George Floyd
All four of the former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are now facing charges in his death, as protests carry on nationwide. CBS News' Skyler Henry joined CBSN from Minneapolis with more on how the news was received there.
George Floyd's killing resurrects nightmares for families of civil rights martyrs
Myrlie Evers and the family members of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner are among watching with dismay as history repeat itself.
Nirvana's Krist Novoselic criticized for praising Trump's speech amid George Floyd protests, deletes Twitter
Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic is facing backlash after he recently praised the hard-line calls of President Trump in which he threatened to send in the military to restore order at nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death if governors didn’t do it.
Virginia Governor to Announce Removal of Confederate Gen. Lee Statue
The Lee monument was erected in 1890, decades after the end of the Civil War
Protesters in London mourn George Floyd and blast US President Donald Trump
The killing of George Floyd has resonated with black communities around the world. In London — some 4,000 miles from where Floyd died -- thousands of protesters gathered in Hyde Park on Wednesday to show solidarity.
Why some taxpayers are still waiting for stimulus payments
The IRS has sent 159 million stimulus payments, but millions of taxpayers may still be waiting and could need to take action.
Drew Brees is criticized by LeBron James after comments about 'disrespecting the flag'
Drew Brees gets backlash from LeBron James for saying kneeling during the national anthem is "disrespecting the flag."
Walmart removes firearms and ammunition from some stores amid nationwide protests
Walmart is removing firearms and ammunition from sales floors in some of its stores following nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
NY's Cardinal Dolan responds to vandalism of St. Patrick's Cathedral amid George Floyd protests
The archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, addressed nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, as well as vandalism at St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Sirius XM Radio Wednesday, saying that Americans must pursue a peaceful resolution that is in line with God's teachings.
Ben & Jerry's calls for the dismantling of 'culture of white supremacy'
Ben & Jerry's posted: "The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy."
I went on a tech-free retreat while quarantined in my NYC apartment
These folks took a tech-free meditation "retreat" right at home — and loved it.
Hear Obama's 3-step method to impact change
Former President Obama talks about the current political and social climate surrounding the death of George Floyd and the impact political engagement has on influencing change.
Barack Obama praises young George Floyd protesters in rallying speech
WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday addressed Americans peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd nationwide — saying he felt they were bringing genuine change in the United States. “There is a change of mindset that is taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better,” Obama said, adding that the movement...
4 Minneapolis cops now charged in Floyd's death
Prosecutors have charged a Minneapolis police officer accused of pressing his knee against George Floyd's neck with second-degree murder, and for the first time are leveling charges against three other officers. (June 3)
Mattis tears into Trump in extraordinary rebuke
• Trump launches defensive Twitter spree as America grieves • Analysis: Trump's 'bunker' story tells you everything you need to know about him • Trump tries to revise history about church walk. Here's what really happened
Obama addresses police killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests
Former President Barack Obama spoke in a virtual town hall Wednesday about the recent protests over the police killing of George Floyd. He says young people have the power and talent to make change. Watch his remarks here.
Trump's former defense secretary Mattis blasts president as a threat to American democracy
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis blasted Trump as failing to unite the country and militarizing the response to protests of George Floyd's death.
Fired U.S. State Department watchdog tells lawmakers he was impartial
A State Department inspector general abruptly fired by U.S. President Donald Trump last month defended his record to lawmakers on Wednesday, saying he had served in his oversight role without regard to politics.
Worldwide protests break out over George Floyd’s death
Thousands worldwide have increasingly taken to the streets over the past week protesting the police custody death of Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and demand racial justice, with massive demonstrations from Montreal and London, to Brazil and Iran, according to news reports.
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Actor John Boyega rallies crowd at protest
"Star Wars" actor John Boyega rallied crowds at a large London protest against George Floyd's death, telling demonstrators that "now is the time" to demand racial equality.
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Engel on hot mic: "If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care"
His primary challenger tells CBS News the comment "captures everything that is wrong with too many in Washington"
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After lockdown, Australians seek to learn survival skills in the bush
SYDNEY – Learning Australian bush survival skills is becoming popular as city folk turn to nature with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, organizers of a course outside Sydney said. The Bushcraft course teaches basic survival skills like foraging for food and water, and also offers insight into traditional indigenous cultures. The course filled up...
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Demonstraters continue DC protest of Floyd's death
Protestors face off with National Guard troops in the streets of Washington DC on the same day the perimeter around the White House is expanded. (June 3)      
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Police scanner apps surge in popularity amid protests
Creator of 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, the top downloaded app over the weekend, plans to donate proceeds to criminal-justice groups.
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Rand Paul holds up anti-lynching legislation as he seeks changes to bill
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Wednesday he is holding up popular bipartisan legislation to make lynching a federal crime, a long-sought goal of supporters that is acutely relevant now against the backdrop of nationwide protests against police mistreatment of African Americans.
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Fundraiser pleads guilty in L.A. City Hall corruption case
A political operative pleaded guilty to helping to bribe a city councilmember
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People across income levels struggling to pay bills
Families that earn $125,000 a year cite hard times paying bills and say they've used credit cards to stay afloat.
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Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets Should Be a Last Resort. So Why Are Police Using Them on Protesters First?
In the George Floyd protests, eager police abuse of “less lethal” weapons is causing unconscionable escalation and injury.
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The cost of giving birth in each U.S. state
Depending on where you live, the price of childbirth varies wildly.
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Orlando man tried stabbing police with syringe during George Floyd protest, police allege
Orlando Police said a man tried to stab several police officers with an exposed syringe.
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Brewery wants to pay someone to hike Appalachian Trail while drinking
There’s nothing like getting drunk and going on a hike… wait, what? A brewing company in Virginia is offering to sponsor one lucky fan to become its “Chief Hiking Officer.” This position will include hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine. Also, the CHO will attend several “beer parties” along the way,...
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Eric Garner's daughter Emerald reacts to new charges in the Floyd case: 'A step in the right direction, but we have way more work to do.'
Emerald Garner and Etan Thomas join The Lead.
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Rubber bullets may be “non-lethal,” but they can still maim and kill
A police officer aims a rubber bullet gun at demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter protest in Long Beach, California, on May 31. | Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images The dangers of “non-lethal” police weapons — like rubber bullets, flash-bangs, and tear gas — explained Around the country, police and law enforcement agents are responding to the protests against police brutality with ... brutality. Standard crowd-control weapons — including rubber bullets, chemical irritants, flash-bangs, and contraptions that combine aspects of all three — are being deployed against protestors and the journalists covering them to disperse crowds, sometimes seemingly unprovoked, and against peaceful protesters. While these riot control weapons are said to be “non-lethal” or “less-lethal” by police and their manufacturers, they can still cause significant harm. In some cases, they can kill or cause lasting disability. “These weapons are supposed to be used as a last resort, if there’s really an uncontrollable level of violence that threatens public safety,” Rohini Haar, an emergency room physician who has studied the impact of crowd-control weapons, tells Vox. “Without that level, that threshold, the use of weapons against unarmed civilians is pretty unjustified.” As the protests percolate throughout the country, there have been many reports of serious injuries due to police using riot control weapons. And health experts and doctors worry that there could be more injuries because of the widespread use of these. Here are three of the more common crowd-control weapons being used on protesters. Let’s walk through them. Rubber bullets are bullets. Bullets can kill. Rubber bullets are not always made out of rubber. Technically, they are called “kinetic impact projectiles.” Some are made out of hardened foam or plastic. Others contain a metal core. Some are more like beanbags shot out of a rifle. Wooden bullets also are grouped into this category, and they are also dangerous and being used against protesters in recent days. Regardless of their composition, these projectiles are shot out of guns at speeds comparable to that of a typical bullet, and when they hit their target, they can maim, blind, or even kill. The rubber bullets are meant to be “non-lethal” or “less lethal” and used in crowd control. But research shows how brutal these bullets can be. “It sounds like a Nerf gun or something, but it’s definitely much more dangerous than that,” Haar says. “From our research, we find that there’s really no safe way to use rubber bullets.” In 2017, Haar, along with the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, published a review paper in the BMJ looking at the impact these bullets can have on the human body. They concluded: “[T]hese weapons have the potential to cause severe injuries and death.” The group found 26 studies on the use of rubber bullets around the world, documenting a total of 1,984 injuries. Fifteen percent of the injuries resulted in permanent disability; 3 percent resulted in death. When the injuries were to the eyes, they overwhelmingly (84.2 percent) resulted in blindness. Caught one of them to the leg. Free Yin Yang tattoo, I suppose.— Mark Dunphy (@m_b_dunphy) June 3, 2020 These weapons can also cause internal bleeding in the abdominal region, concussions, injuries to the head and neck, and skin and soft-tissue damage. Furthermore, these weapons are unwieldy, hard to aim at specific targets. “At short range, they come out of the gun as fast as a bullet,” Haar says. “And so they can break bones. They can fracture skulls. If they hit the face, they can cause permanent damage and disability. At long distances, they ricochet, they have unpredicted trajectories, they bounce, and they’re quite indiscriminate. So they can’t possibly target either an individual or a safe body part of an individual.” The BMJ paper may suffer from publication and selection bias and may overrepresent the most dramatic or notable injuries, the authors note. Regardless, it’s enough to know that these life-scarring impacts can occur with rubber bullets, and they’re being used against many citizens of our country in recent days. “Police are not required to document their use of rubber bullets, so there is no national data to show how often they’re used,” USA Today reports. But rubber bullet injuries have been piling up during the protests. A photojournalist reported being blinded in one eye after being hit by a rubber bullet in Minneapolis. In Los Angeles, a reporter posted pictures of his rubber bullet injury on his neck. A grandmother in La Mesa, California, was reportedly shot between the eyes. A teen in Sacramento, California, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet. His family reports he’ll need jaw surgery. Flash-bangs, aka stun grenades, can burn and damage hearing Rubber bullets are hardly the only problematic “non-lethal” weapon used against protestors. Flash-bangs, or stun grenades, are another tool being deployed by police that explode with a bright light and incredibly loud sound to get people to scatter from an area. How loud? 160 to 180 decibels, according to Physicians for Human Rights. These noise levels are “not safe for any period of time” according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. This can damage the eardrum and cause temporary deafness. The light can temporarily blind a person. Also, pieces of the grenade may fly off as shrapnel, injuring a person. They can also burn people at close range. The North Carolina Supreme Court has even declared them a weapon of “mass death and destruction.” There’s less research on other physical harms of flash-bangs. But in 2015, a ProPublica investigation found at least 50 Americans had been killed or maimed by them since the year 2000 and that they are particularly dangerous when used indoors. “That is likely a fraction of the total since there are few records kept on flash-bang deployment,” ProPublica noted. “When these modified hand grenades explode on the human body, they can cause severe injury or death. The flash powder burns hotter than lava.” Here, Physicians for Human Rights sums up the damage these weapons can do. Police lobbed flash-bangs into a crowd of protesters in Seattle, as you can see below. (Elsewhere in Seattle, an NBC News reporter was hit directly by one). The use of flash-bangs was also reported in Virginia, Colorado, and Washington, DC. These protesters in Seattle are literally chanting “we don’t see no riot here, take off your riot gear” & doing nothing else but standing peacefully when the police start throwing tear gas & firing into them— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) June 2, 2020 Tear gas is illegal in warfare, yet it can be used by police Finally, there’s tear gas, or chemical irritants that irritate the eyes, nose, mouth, lungs, and skin (there are several different types of chemicals that fall under the “tear gas” category). These chemicals are banned internationally in warfare. Yet, they are still legal for domestic police forces — including in the US — to use to disperse crowds. They cause immediate irritation to the eyes and lungs, but their long-term effects are less well understood. “It’s still questionable what kinds of respiratory damage tear gas does,” Anna Feigenbaum, a journalism professor and the author of a book on the history of teargas, told Vox’s Jen Kirby. “We don’t really know what its impacts are in terms of different kinds of asthma and lung disease,” she continued. “What we do know is that for people who have any kind of preconditions, it’s incredibly dangerous for them to be in spaces that are tear-gassed. For anyone who’s very young or very old, it has increased dangers.” Increasingly, Haar says, elements of different crowd-control weapons are mixed together. Tear gas can be put inside a projectile. Flash-bang grenades can also disperse chemical irritants. “All of those are also deeply concerning,” Haar says. A tear gas canister could injure someone as a rubber bullet would, if fired as a projectile. “Anything that’s a projectile that’s fired into a crowd can cause trauma,” she says. “So whether that’s a canister of tear gas, a stun grenade, or rubber bullets.” On Wednesday morning, a person in Washington, DC, found an unexploded flash-bang grenade. Very relieved that the unexploded flash-bang grenade that my daughter found and innocently picked up this morning didn't explode in her face. Beyond angry that it was left on the streets of our capital city.— Ed Felten (@EdFelten) June 2, 2020 This particular model, according to the manufacturer’s website, “is a maximum effect device that delivers four stimuli for psychological and physiological effects: rubber pellets, light, sound, and OC [i.e. pepper spray].” It’s worth noting, too, that these chemicals irritate the lungs. Meanwhile, we’re in the midst of a respiratory disease pandemic. The coughing that results from tear gas could spread Covid-19 in a protest area. For Haar, the proliferation of these crowd-control weapons is part of the story of police brutality. “I strongly feel that the current reckoning with police violence should include discussion of how demonstrations and protests are met,” she says. These weapons are often called “non-lethal.” But these weapons are as dangerous as anything else that’s a weapon,” she says. “Consider them as dangerous weapons to be used only as a last resort.” Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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