UT Dell Medical School says ‘less lethal’ beanbag rounds still cause traumatic injuries

Austin Protests

(Dell Medical School)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — University of Texas’ Dell Medical School says that while bean bag rounds used during May and June protests in Austin are considered to be “less lethal,” the injuries suffered by people hit by them tell a different story.

The school says that during the Austin protests, 19 patients were treated at the nearest level 1 trauma center — and that eight were admitted and seven underwent operations for the injuries.

Dell Med says that four patients who were hit with bean bag components had intracranial hemorrhages.

Additionally, the school says one patient sustained injuries leading to a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit.

Demonstrations in the Austin area began on Friday, May 29 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Groups returned to Austin Police Department headquarters and the Texas Capitol throughout that week to rally against police brutality.

As well as the peaceful demonstrations in May, police also reported crimes such as looting, vandalism and violence.

At that time, Austin police reported the use of a CTS 12-gauge “Super Sock” bean bag and a CTS 40mm foam round.

People who were hit in the May protests include a 20-year-old Texas State student who was in critical condition and a pregnant woman who was hit in the stomach.

Dell Med points to a report by the school’s faculty in the New England Journal of Medicine that states the findings “highlight the fact that bean bag munitions can cause serious harm and are not appropriate for use in crowd control.”

In June, Austin Police Department announced it would no longer use bean bag rounds for crowd control, even though it is still approved for other uses.

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