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'Less lethal' police weapons tied to serious injuries during George Floyd protests, researchers say

January 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 60.1%. 1 min read.

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 1: Some protesters move away as police shoot tear gas and flash grenades to disperse the crowd on Broadway near the Oakland Police Department during the fourth day of protests over George Floyd's death by the Minneapolis police in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

Many people suffered "projectile injuries," "eye trauma" and other serious wounds from weapons police used on crowds during protests over the summer sparked by the death of George Floyd, researchers say.

(CNN)Many people suffered "projectile injuries," "eye trauma" and other serious wounds from weapons police used on crowds during protests over the summer sparked by the death of George Floyd, researchers say.

According to a letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, a wide array of serious injuries can be connected to law enforcements' use of what are called "less-lethal weapons," such as tear gas or rubber bullets.

"Although less-lethal weapons are designed as an alternative to lethal weapons, we found a substantial number of patients with serious injuries, including many injuries to the head, neck, and face," researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School wrote.

Though the demonstrations were largely peaceful, police and protesters clashed at times, raising criticism over officers' use of tear gas and rubber bullets.

The researchers took a close look at those whose records included the words "riot," "tear gas," or other terms related to the protests.

The researchers found 89 records that met that criteria -- and among them, 51% were for injuries from projectiles, such as rubber bullets or beanbags; 36% injuries from chemical irritants, such as tear gas; and 13% injuries from both types of weapons.

But the researchers added that their findings only represent the injuries for which people sought treatment.

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