Video Shows Officer Shoot San Antonio Protester Twice With Projectiles Without Physical Provocation

click to enlarge Video Shows Officer Shoot San Antonio Protester Twice With Projectiles Without Physical Provocation
Video Capture via YouTube / Jason Miller
Newly shared video from San Antonio's Saturday, May 30 anti-police brutality demonstration shows an officer shoot a protester twice with so-called "less-lethal" rounds without apparent physical provocation.

In the video, shared via Twitter, a protester films a group of heavily armed police and taunts one, shouting that he'd better have his weapon's safety on. One of the officers breaks from the ranks, approaches the man, and fires at close range with a long gun.

As the wounded target curses at the shooter, showing off his wrist, bloodied from the projectile, the officer fires again. The second shot, which also appears to come after no apparent physical provocation, strikes the man in the leg. Blood seeps through his pants from the injury.

Riot gear obscures the officer's face, and it's unclear from the clip whether he's a member of the San Antonio Police Department or another law-enforcement organization.

"We are aware of the videos that were posted to social media and that incident is under review," SAPD spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Ramos said in an email reply to the Current's inquiry. "Once the review is complete, we will be transparent with the findings."

Ramos wouldn't identify the officer or confirm whether he's a member of SAPD.

The Current was unable to reach the man injured in the video.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also had no comment at press time.

Less-Lethal Ammo

The use of less-lethal rounds such as rubber, plastic and wooden bullets has come under scrutiny during the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The rounds have caused serious injuries during demonstrations in other Texas cities. A university student from San Antonio was critically injured by a projectile fired by Austin police during a protest there. The student, 20-year-old Justin Elliott Howell, suffered a fractured skull and brain damage in the incident.

The May 30 San Antonio clip was one of more than 400 shared by T. Greg Doucette, a criminal defense attorney from Durham, N.C., who compiled a spreadsheet of videos showing police use of force against protesters.

Pharaoh Clark, an organizer of the San Antonio protests, said he's aware of the incident captured in the recently posted YouTube clip. He said he witnessed multiple instances of police firing less-lethal rounds directly at protestors that night and was grazed across the chin by one.

"They were aiming straight at people, right in their faces," he said. "They were shooting to hurt."

A separate video captured on the fourth night of San Antonio protests also shows a group of police firing wooden projectiles at protesters as an organizer turns his back to the officers and urges demonstrators to raise their hands and be peaceful.

SAPD officials later claimed the officers fired after people threw projectiles.

Clark said the San Antonio videos are evidence of the brutality that's driving people across the nation into the streets to protest. The May 30 clip is especially troubling, he added.

"They never arrested [the protester in the video]," Clark said. "They weren't firing to subdue him so they could arrest him for a crime. They were firing on him for no other reason than to inflict pain. That's exactly the kind of problem we're talking about."

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