Rohini Haar & Scott Reynhout: "A Seminar on Kinetic Impact Projectiles US-Chile"

[R. H] to to think about uh crowd control weapons and protests and how the weapons are really um often used to suppress protest and and it’s almost impossible to use these weapons in some sort of safe way and I’m sure those of you who have been in the protests in Chile know more about that than I do but today what i thought i would do was talk a little bit about uh the medical issues around these weapons so i’d like to one, discuss uh the legal sort of framework around using crowd control weapons; when they’re supposed to be justified, very briefly uh two, I’d like to talk a little bit about the weapons themselves so that we have a little bit of background and three some of the medical impacts that we’ve identified through our research and I will try to keep this to uh 15 20 minutes to keep it uh short so just because visuals are easier and my Spanish is terrible I thought I would um share some slides so um the work that I’m presenting today was done as part of a um a big project called lethal in disguise we worked with physicians for human rights and the international network of civil liberties organizations called include their base is in Argentina but there’s 13 different countries 14 different countries that uh that they work in now and i think they would love to have a Chilean group on there as well So when you think about protests there’s um there’s three major uh reasons or justifications that you must fulfill for the use of force so one is the necessity; are crowd control weapons being used when absolutely necessary – as a last resort, after open dialogue, after communication with protesters if there’s actual violence or a riot That is very rarely filled Two is when there’s a protest and it turns violent or the police think that there’s an imminent threat to harm, when they use the weapons are they using them proportionally, for instance if a protester a single random protester throws an apple or a water bottle that, the proportional response to that is not to uh disperse the entire assembly and fire a bunch of weapons; but that’s frequently what happens and the third is, is the use of force both legal and properly used so when the weapons are used are they used properly, are they fired according to the guidelines that the manufacturers provide, um is the use legal, is the context legal for instance in most of the guidelines it says imminent threat but if the imminent threat is to a piece of property or to the road that’s very different than if there’s an imminent threat from a riot to individuals or or people so that’s the kind of bigger context within which we study the use of crowd control weapons and really say it’s really hard to meet all of those criteria um I would summarize and say you know there’s a mass wave of protests going on right now protests are going up in the world so weapons is going up in the world the manufacture of these weapons is going up in the world; however there is very little regulation and there’s very little understanding of the risks of using these weapons, the narrative is typically that, you know, crowd control weapons they’re not that dangerous they’re less lethal or non-lethal and at least the police aren’t using live ammunition It certainly is the case that crowd control weapons are less lethal or less dangerous than live ammunition but the use of any weapon depends on if they uh… how these weapons are used and two on how many people what is the denominator of people that it’s being used on live ammunition is not used on that many people crowd control weapons are used on hundreds if not thousands of people every day so you’re bound to see more injuries than you’d like The research that I’ll talk about specifically about the weapons is based on three big chunks first we did surveys on the context we interviewed people

in a variety of different countries about what they thought, we researched the weapons themselves I’ll speak briefly about that and then we did an analysis of injuries These are the countries that we interviewed experts in um you can see since you’re in Latin America it was uh workers from connect us in Brazil and in Argentina it was uh the Argentinian civil rights group (CELS) I can’t remember the name. We also did Canada the US and then you can see various countries uh since then we’ve also had uh organizations in South Korea and India join our our team This you can see is the different kind of weapons that we asked people: “Hey is is your country using these weapons?” and you can see that tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, sonic weapons – these are tasers generally – stun grenades, these are used in so many different countries uh tear gas and rubber bullets especially are pervasive all over the world and actually this notes that hungary doesn’t use bullets or water cannons but since the refugee crisis they have been using them um and then I’ll speak a little bit about how we did our study so what we did was if you were in a protest and you happen to get injured because of these weapons and your injury was severe enough and you weren’t afraid and you went to the hospital or medical clinic to seek health care and that doctor or health worker who took care of you had the time and knew how to write a write up a case report or a study about what happened to these patients that is the medical literature that we were able to capture that someone has written, you can tell from this long list of ifs that we are capturing a teeny tiny fraction of the actual number of injuries from these weapons if people were severely injured but they were afraid of going to the doctor or in the vast majority of cases if the doctor or the emergency room was busy treating a bunch of patients and didn’t want to write it up – which is most of the time – then this stuff wasn’t available for us to report so the data I’m going to present to you it is not a there is no um I can’t give you a percentage of people that are injured by these weapons I can’t say if you fire tear gas x number of people will get hurt what I can tell you is that a large number of people have experienced a range of different injuries to different body parts and I’ll share some of that so today I’d like to just talk primarily about kinetic impact projectiles which is just another word for rubber bullets, foam batons, bean bag rounds uh things like that and then chemical irritants which include tear gas and pepper spray From my uh brief work in in Chile I know that water cannons and L-rads or acoustic weapons are also used but I won’t spend too much time on that because the literature is very limited I think I mentioned to you the limit limitations of the study is that we really can’t give a proportion um and then you’ll see in the background here of a lot of my slides I’ll show pictures of beautiful protests all over the world that have occurred in the past 10 years that have really been um violently repressed by the use of crowd control weapons this is in Taksim square in Turkey where you know multiple hundreds of rounds of tear gas were fired to disperse protesters for not really good reason so moving on to uh to kinetic impact projectiles there’s greater than 75 different kinds of weapons and they’re all over so this is typically the blue one here on the left is a foam round these small little bags here are called bean bag rounds so they often have a tiny tiny lead pellets in them this is a rubber covered metal bullet I understand this might also be used in Chile now but um but this this is a picture of one from Israel or Palestine this is like your typical plastic or foam bullet and then this is another really problematic issue with um we call the scatter shot when you have multiple bullets or balls coming out of a single canister at the same time These weapons injure all different body parts obviously you know about the skin sometimes the eyes

but wherever they hit they can cause serious injuries I’m gonna show a couple pictures that can be a little bit graphic but i think it’s important to understand what people and civilians are experiencing but if um if the pictures trigger you please feel free to turn away i won’t keep any one on for too long this is a young boy in nepal who was shot with shotgun pellets and you can see that there’s a few pellets lodged all over his face um and if you look at the x-ray they were also lodged on inside the skull some of these pellets penetrated really hard to get them out here’s um a young man i think this was in Latin America I can’t remember where um who was shot with that scatter shot of the multiple bullets that I mentioned so some of them hit his back this was obviously from very close range because they hit him pretty hard but they also hit his ear and you can see in his skull there’s a couple injuries as well this is a young man in the United States who you know to be honest was very lucky if that bullet had hit an inch or two lower he probably would have lost his sight uh you can see this is again more bullet wounds to the back from rubber bullets this gentleman this man also had um i think this injury or this one over here on the top caused him to have internal bleeding around his kidney as well so it’s not just the skin injuries that we see it’s often internal bleeding The next picture is a little bit graphic but it can show you that these uh these wounds are quite penetrative uh you can see this one unfortunately penetrated the chest to his heart this this poor man died from a bean bag round Rubber bullets even if they’re rubber or especially if they have metal parts or metal composites are especially dense, can fracture bones so you can see that this was a rubber bullet that actually fractured the skull it was probably fired from very close range, this uh is a picture of a rubber bullet that actually lodged inside someone’s brain this is a post-mortem picture this um this person did not survive and you can see that especially when they hit the eye socket it’s such a fragile and delicate area and uh and so things like this will make you permanently lose your vision uh You can see sometimes they can go through the eye socket or through the skull and land in the brain as well So when we did our systematic literature review we identified almost 2000 people who suffered injuries, of the people written about in the medical literature 70% of those injuries were something we called severe; which means they needed surgery or serious medical management whereas 30% were minor, something like a cut or a bruise that um could be bandaged but didn’t necessarily need major or surgery or anything like that In 25 years of looking at the literature there was at least 53 percent of people uh sorry 53 people which was three percent of our sample that died from their injuries and 294 which is about 15 percent who had permanent disabilities that primarily included loss of vision or brain damage from the bullets hitting their head or their face but also things like amputation of their limbs You can see that these are not um these are not small numbers here when were injuries worse when these weapons were aimed directly into the crowd or at specific people you were more likely to have severe injuries when it was too close so these bullets come out of the weapons as fast or as fast as live ammunition, if it’s too far for instance they have very unpredictable trajectories and can roll around so from far away you you will not hit who you target or where you target and I think this might be particularly important for um the case of Chile because any bullets with metal components like the rubber coated metal bullets i showed you or shotgun pellets or even rubber balls with metal uh composite in them or metal shards are much more dense and likely to be much more dangerous than your average foam round What we concluded in our research was that all of these projectiles are inaccurate unreliable and dangerous and that really there should be no role for kinetic impact projectiles like rubber bullets and foam bullets in crowd control there’s really no safe way to use them and there’s no way that they actually de-escalate tensions

and then I’d like to talk a little bit to you about chemical irritants so this like I said includes primarily tear gas and pepper spray they come out of the canisters in multiple forms you can have spray right out of the canister this is a picture in Turkey um they can come out as grenades that uh fire right out of a like a grenade launcher and most commonly we see them in tear gas canisters that can be projected or uh that can be thrown and that’s what we’re mostly seeing in the United States right now is these large canisters Most people will know that tear gas, because of its name, injures the eyes but what’s more common and what’s more dangerous is that it has significant impacts on the skin and especially on the heart lung and the respiratory system but it can also impact all different parts of the body and I don’t talk a lot about the mental health impacts of these weapons but I don’t think it’s something we should ignore it’s very serious and far more prevalent than anyone has studied uh again I’m going to show you some gross pictures but just for so that you know. This is a young man who got a pretty heavy dose of tear gas on his face and you can see that he actually has chemical burns uh so I don’t know what that that picture’s still doing there and then this is really concerning because this is um i think this was in Uganda where there was uh a water cannon that sprayed both tear gas and color dye and from what i understand in Chile there’s tear gas um in water cannons as well or oc or pepper which is really concerning to mix it in water and spray it You can see that in general it causes a lot of skin irritation this is a young man in Kashmir I believe and so much pain really that you really can’t open your eyes and so it makes it almost impossible for someone to um to peacefully and safely disperse from a crowd if you can’t see and if you’re in severe pain One thing that I think it’s really important to talk about that is not discussed a lot is that the canister the actual tear gas canister causes a lot of injuries and permanent disabilities especially when it hits the head in the face um and I think there’s a series of cases about this in Chile as well, but these are much worse when these canisters are targeted directly into the crowd. Tear gas is supposed to be aimed at the periphery or um when they use heavy canisters there was a case in Iraq you can see um here that uh they use such heavy tear gas canisters that they actually fractured skulls that was just earlier last year. This is actually a US military member who was getting tear gas as part of basic training and you can see he developed a severe allergic reaction where he was exposed um this gentleman I already showed you and this is a another gentleman who developed a severe allergic reaction after multiple exposures to tear gas so you know people are allowed to protest more than once and if you get exposed repeatedly you’re you have a higher potential of an allergic reaction You can see this is another gentleman where the tear gas kind of slipped down his face down his chest and he got a chemical burn from it and this is from the canister itself again, it is a combustible it explodes and it caused a second or third degree burn here on his leg when tear gas hits the eye it can cause pretty severe damage all of this green stuff on the bottom picture which you can’t really see on the top picture is a corneal ulcers and corneal burns and as i mentioned the vast majority of severe injuries from tear gas are from the respiratory problems so chemical lung injury especially in people with asthma or other lung problems can be pretty severe this is a picture of a 16 year old girl this is a normal lung this was like two months after she recovered but this was what her lungs looked like two days after the tear gas exposure she was exposed inside a bus where police in the UK actually fired the tear gas You can see how how destroyed her lung tissue is so as I mentioned the canister injuries are perhaps the most serious especially when they hit the head and the neck um but you know I have to be Ihave to kind of caveat our work because we looked at over 5000 tear gas injuries the vast majority are minor but there is a small minority nine percent severe, 17 percent are moderate but in a setting where tear gas is used on thousands of

people every day all over the world the fact that nine percent of them of the ones that we found are severe is still a very concerning number I’ll just end with a few pictures to um just let you know about other concerns so this is an L-rad device which is an acoustic or sonic weapon it’s supposed to fire uh really really loud sounds that are painful they’ve been sometimes known to rupture the eardrum These are stun grenades that emit a very large uh bright light and loud noise they can also burn right through clothing and in some cases when they’re fired inside hurt children who are living inside um a beautiful report from Propublica a couple years ago identified over 50 serious injuries and deaths from the stun grenades and then weapons like water cannons you can see this man is being thrown back there’s another gentleman who had permanent vision loss in germany because of of this um and you know there’s a whole host of new weapons coming out these tasers um and in the US even more concerning is some of these directed energy weapons So they all have a different kind of ranges of injuries and real concern about the human rights implications Iwould say the recommendations are not simply just to stop using the weapons which is a high bar and very difficult to advocate on, but there needs to be better regulation around all aspects; around design and trade and manufacture there needs to be more testing from the manufacturers um there is needs to be uh police need to be clear on the fact that medical assistance and medics need to be available and finally of course there needs to be better training the use of the weapons need to be safer and and there needs to be more accountability when these weapons are misused So I’ll end there, I’m happy Isee a bunch of questions came in and I’ll happy to answer them after the uh Javier maybe you could tell me I can answer them in the question and answer period at the end um But I would like to thank all of our partners because this was a very large project that we did a couple years ago and obviously much more important right now so we’re trying to uh to increase our learning and um we’d be interested if health workers and you folks um in Chile have cases if you would be willing to share some of those with us so we can add them to the database Thank you [J.V] Thank you very much, um I think we’re going to continue with Scott and then we’re going to move for the questions I have been collecting several questions um if you want you can during all the presentations you can write your questions on the chat, I will be collecting them and then we are going through them in the end uh Scott um the spot is yours now, thank you very much [S. R] Okay thank you very much uh everybody for attending my name is Scott Reynhout I have a doctorate in geological sciences actually from the University of Chile I was a resident of Chile until January of this year and so uh as a resident of Santiago I was witness to uh the estadio social as well as um the police response to it which really sort of shocked me into it was it was something that was very very shocking to see um so that’s how I initially became involved with the project of Javier as well as the project of Rohini regarding the global use of less lethal weapons so what I would like to do today is uh follow up on Rohini’s discussion on the global context of these less lethal weapons by talking specifically about Chile uh what what the protocols have been in the past what the protocols have been uh the new use of force protocols that just came out last week I believe what they may have in hold what they may have in store for Chile as well as taking a look at the current work that I’m currently involved in the United States and see if are there any lessons that we can draw from that experience so let me see if I can share one second Okay please let me know if you uh cannot see this presentation

um so I guess i’ll start out with uh a discussion of the less lethal weapons that Rohini discussed in the specific context of Chile which which uh kinetic impact projectiles are being used which chemical agents are being used et cetera et cetera et cetera so my source for this is uh the 2019 version of circular 1832 which governs the use of force and all of these weapons uh by the by the Carabineros de Chile which is Chile’s national police force and they’re the they’re the governmental organization that is largely responsible for the control for crowd control in Chile and and all of these weapons correspond to the first level of uh the use of force the non-lethal level of the use of force that the Carabineros are allowed to engage in response to various circumstances So in terms of the kinetic impact projectiles that are being used the most prominent are what are known as rubber or non-metallic buckshot naming these rounds is a little problematic and i’ll touch on that a little bit later when I discuss that those rounds in particular also in use our flexible baton rounds these are what are often known as bean bag rounds or super sock rounds As far as chemical agents go cs gas is used extensively as in in both hand and canister form as well as oc gas as well as well as oleoresin capsicum or peppers pepper gas pepper agent, that is used as both a gas and in as an additive to the water cannons finally uh it’s worth mentioning as rohini did as well that some of these weapons sort of blur this distinction between chemical agents and kips some of them are designed as chemical agents and can be used however however they can also be used as kits this is for in for instance the 37 millimeter launched cs gas canisters discussing specifically KIPs that are in used in Chile the so-called rubber buckshot the first and most important thing to note uh is that the munitions that are found that are called rubber buckshots or pedigones de goma or postas de goma that are found in these predominantly blue cartridges are not rubber they have a density that is incompatible with any kind of rubber without significant uh adulteration um the exact composition of these uh it’s still a little up in the air but it seems like uh it’s mostly silicates uh with uh some heavier metals such as such as lead and barium uh so they’re not rubber they have the same density as uh pebbles uh and leave the weapon which in this case is a standard 12 gauge shotgun at a very high velocity just below the speed of sound, this makes them exceptionally dangerous Also in use with less frequency are much larger pellets these are these these are about one almost two centimeters in diameter and they’re only three per round uh supposedly they leave the the muzzle of the weapon at a similar speed however they’re a lower weight and uh and greater size that means that their potential uh their their potential to cause serious damage is somewhat reduced uh with with with relation to uh the so-called rubber or non-metallic buckshot there’s a very long discussion to be had on this and if you are interested in this I encourage you to look at my publication that just came out about a month ago in the medical journal of the Universidad Catholica regarding the physical characteristics as well as ballistic behavior of these particular weapons Moving on in lesser quantities flexible baton rounds have been used uh and are authorised for use by the carabineros as a level as a first level less than lethal device typically they consist of a kevlar sac that is filled with lead bird shot although there have been anecdotal reports of different um forms of this of this of this projectile being used in uh in Chile as well as some physical evidence that there are certain things that are similar to these but not listed within the within the use of force protocols that are being used there so what I mean by this is that in the use of force protocols they’re very specific about what type of projectile specifically which type of flexible baton round is to be used a 12 gauge not 12 millimeter 12 gauge

cartridge to be fired out of a shotgun however this is a this is a a used canister that was delivered to me in Chile that clearly shows uh that this is uh a similar type of projectile a uh 37 billion a a flexible baton round however uh fired out of what’s fired out of a gas grenade launcher so this is a significantly larger round that is not necessarily listed in the use of force of protocols that are published by the carabineros so that is noteworthy that there are munitions out here that do not strictly correspond to the permitted munitions that are listed in the use of force protocols Moving on to chemical agents there’s extensive use of cs gas uh the hand grenade both in the form of hand grenades uh but also as single projectile launch canisters and multi-projectile launch canisters and uh these the these canisters are the devices that have been implicated in several high-profile injuries to uh people who are apparently not protesters most notably Fabioli Campiai and there’s a there’s a alleged radio radiograph of the damage that was done to this particular individual in the lower right hand corner uh oc or pepper agent is less widely used in Chile to date although its use is increasing now it’s specifically seen uh deployed as a in gas form from armored cars or as an additive to water cannons. It’s important to note here that there’s been some confusion regarding the composition of the water within the water cannons uh and what might be responsible for some alleged cases of severe chemical burns that have resulted from them notable about the the dispersal of from from there’s been some evidence that what is the way that oc agent is introduced into the water tanks of these devices as a powder if it’s introduced as a powder or report requires an emulsifying agent in order to effectively disperse the powdered oc agent in the liquid and so as a result uh what’s important to consider here when we’re thinking about the the potential damage or the harms of these agents is that we may not only be talking about the chemical agents themselves there may be additional compounds or components that are added to some of these agents that may present hazards of their own and so i’ve gone over briefly some of the most common less lethal weapons that are used in chile but i wanted to emphasize something here and that’s how chile compares to the use of these weapons across the world so in 2019 the other high-profile uh episode of civil unrest occurred in Hong Kong from roughly June through December of 2019 over a period of about 180 days during this time period a report of 10000 units of tear gas were used I don’t have firm numbers on the usage of KIPs but daily reports suggest that their use was proportionally less when compared to tear gas between 50 or 70 percent of the total that is to say for every say 100 units of tear gas deployed about 50 or 70 rubber bullets or sponge grenades were used which would hypothetically work out to about 5 000 or 7 000 so this is over the span of 180 days Meanwhile in Chile from October from the 18th of October to the 24th of November over a span of 40 days a report of the an internal report of the carabinero stated that almost almost 120 000 units of cs gas were used and over 160 000 of shotgun cartridges were used presumably largely corresponding to the quote rubber buckshot but it could also include the super sock and other things as well and so Chile sort of stands out in this particular context uh in the sheer number uh or sheer amount of less lethal weapons that have been used in a very very short time So uh when Javier first proposed this presentation to me uh I had not been uh the the new updated 2020 use of force protocols had not yet been published now they recently came out and I thought it would be useful/ worthwhile to discuss some of the proposals that are within that are within the updated use of forest protocols So in particular it the new use of force protocols add

certain devices or weapons uh to the uh existing use of force protocols that did not necessarily exist prior to this my interpretation of these is that these additions correspond to oc or pepper agent in various forms compressed air rifles and the so-called pepper balls these would be new to chile as well as sonic weapons which have been deployed in which which have not been extensively been deployed in Chile however they uh there has been photographic evidence to suggest that it does exist I’m going to talk about each one of these uh in this the following slides To begin with oc in terms of oc agent the first two entries here uh seem to be, my interpretation of this, is that this is essentially a formalization of uh some of the vague wording that existed in the previous uh use of force protocols the liquid oc is a sort of more articulated version of what’s known as mixed water agua mescala in the previous use of force protocols and then the oc polvo is a more precise formulation of “gas pimenta” which is uh for use in the the in the um armored cars that was uh that existed in the previous use of force protocols Now what may be somewhat novel is the addition of uh liquid oc and aerosol form specifically uh the mark 9 and mark 46 devices this is what they look like they’re handheld devices on the left is the mark 9 and on the right is the mark 46 the largest is about the size of a fire extinguisher and to my understanding these are relatively new uh to the carabineros I think they were first deployed in February/March although I may be mistaken on this The big new category that stood out to me um were what seemed to be indicative of air rifles and paintballs or pepper balls so the first entry here suggests some form of air rifle and the combination with the second entry suggests that these correspond with what are known as paintball guns these were originally recreational devices that fire a projectile using compressed air or co2 um the and the the standard caliber is 60 it is a 68 cal it shoots a 68 caliber paintball so it seems highly likely to me that this is what is being discussed in the new use of force protocols this is a kinetic impact projectile while the total velocities involved as well as the characteristics of the plastic round suggest that they may be less dangerous than some of the KIPs in use currently by the carabineros it is important that the still would fall into the category of a KIP um The other entry indicates that these web these firearms may also be used to fire some ammunition known as a pepper ball this consists of a plastic sphere that is filled with oc powder and have been extensively used uh recently uh both as well as the united states in the in the uh following the protests there the use of these particular projectiles is a little it as as new somewhat new weapons their their use is still a little uh uh the rules regarding their use is still a little vague um generally what I have seen in terms of the protocols they are supposed to be used indirectly fired at the feet of protesters to disperse this pepper agent over a wider area however they can also be used directly as a KIP and in my own work in the United States I’ve found a number of instances in which people have been shot in the face or upper body with these rounds With regards to the long range to sonic weapons my interpretation of this final entry in the use of force protocols is that there’s is that this is a very indirect way of saying that we are going to be there the carabineros are going to be deploying sonic weapons uh and this is because if you go to the manufacturers of the long-range acoustic devices or L-rads they are not actually advertised as weapons they’re advised as acoustic hailing devices that is communications devices, portable loudspeakers, they’re not considered weapons uh by the manufacturers uh and so the reference here to un to it to a alert alarm speaker uh of some sort seems to me like a very coded way of uh enabling the use of the L-rad or associated devices in Chile by the carabineros

I’m going to give my brief analysis or my I guess more more maybe my thoughts on this some of these devices seem to be a step in the right direction as pepper balls and oc agent relatively speaking um have less objective hazard associated with them uh they are not ballistically speaking as dangerous as the so-called rubber buckshot in current use and appear to have less potential for long-term impacts uh and some of the work that’s been coming out recently regarding the long-term health impacts of cs agents However what’s noteworthy is not so much what was added but what was not subtracted rubber buckshot is still permitted in the use of use of force protocols as well as flexible baton rounds as well as cs gas and so the addition of new tools does not necessarily imply that the the police response to civil demonstrations may become any more or less dangerous if the current um tools that are being used as well as the protocols governing them use their use uh are not really changing what is notable about this however uh for me has been the para the parallels between um the changes that are being proposed in Chile and what has happened in the United States in the last several months that’s what I’m going to talk about right now in the United States following the death of George Floyd uh in late May uh have really put on display uh the entire palette of both tactics as well as devices or weapons that are used by police forces in the United States uh to uh for for crowd control tracking this is much more difficult than in Chile because there are different police forces at each level of government at the local county state and federal level and often uh overlap uh in terms of their jurisdictions you may often have three different at least three different police departments with differing weapons differing use of force protocols uh as well as different um different departmental attitudes and uh that may be operating simultaneously in response to one particular uh demonstration What is known however is that during the first seven days from the period of about the May 26th to June 2nd or June 3rd there were an enormous amount there were a very large amount of apparent cases of misuse of less lethal weapons and that’s what I’m working on right now and that’s what I’d like to briefly discuss with you to bring back um to to show how maybe I guess imitating or uh adopting tactics from the United States or from the rest of the world may not necessarily imply a de-escalation in the magnitude of police response in Chile. So my primary work with physicians for human rights has been the collection of a database of people who have been principally shot in the face, the back of the head, or the neck so one commonality with all less than lethal weapons is that the use of force instructions that is the manufacturer instructions explicitly state that these devices may cause serious injury or even death if they are fired at the face or the head and that under no circumstances should they ever be fired at the face of that or the head so therefore every case in which a civilian has been hit in the face of the head with one of these is a possible case of serious police misconduct So in my review of media reports of the protests I found 104 suspected cases of civilians shot in the head since the 26th of May there’s approximately uh I would approximately 95 of these cases occurred within the first six days from the 26th of June to the second, 26th of May sorry to the 2nd of June so these were concentrated within a very short period of time You can see here that these head injuries were not caused by a single type of projectile many were the majority a plurality were caused by rubber bullets apparently although in many cases it’s impossible to effectively ascertain the type of projectile used there are notable clusters in which the beanbag or flexible baton rounds were responsible for these and several cases in which pepper balls

were used as weapons to target the face in particular additionally there were several cases in which tear gas canisters themselves were used as KIPs some very brief statistics at least 34 of these cases required some form of emergency surgery following the impact at least 25 of them suffered some form of skull fracture at least 42 suffered likely ocular trauma from these impacts there are approximately 15 cases of possible permanent vision loss from impacts of these weapons so if we’re looking at Chile and where they are possibly drawing their inspiration from i there are some notable parallels in terms of what weapons are being used by the police forces in the United States and what weapons are in use or being proposed by the carabineros de Chile the first however the first most notable difference involves the kinetic energy projectiles that are in use In the United States the majority the vast vast majority of kinetic impact projectiles are single projectile rounds these are rubber bullets or sponge sponge or foam tips grenades whatever they want to be called they’re single rounds that are launched generally from a 37 millimeter launcher in Chile these rounds do not exist and are replaced almost exclusively by the non-metallic or rubber buckshot and this is a very very important difference in terms of the two jurisdictions However beyond that there are a lot of similarities both in how uh how these less lethal weapons have been deployed in Chile and are desired to be employed that seem to parallel what we see in the United States flexible baton rounds for instance are used in both and both in both cases have been implicated in serious injury to civilians, chemical agents are very similar in the in the distribution if not the magnitude of their use, oc spray is the most common form in which you find uh oc agent used in the United States uh water cannons are almost are completely absent for instance uh whereas in Chile spray seems to be a new adaptation on the part of the of law enforcement that might parallel what we’ve seen in the United States the extensive employment of oc spray for crowd control pepper balls used extensively in the United States and seemed to be uh being adopted by the carabineros de Chile and finally the sonic weapons which have been less extensively deployed in the United States but they do exist those are something that that’s something else that it seems to be picked up on by the carabineros Some conclusions to wrap it up although Imade the argument earlier that some of these weapons may represent a step in the right direction it is really important to note that less lethal weapons are still weapons and even with when we consider the less legal weapons that are maybe less less lethal uh less further less lethal than some of the options that are currently available in Chile I must emphasize that there is no type of less lethal weapon that is completely risk-free In addition there is no type of less lethal weapon that is impossible to misuse another way of saying this is that it’s not at the end of the day we can talk all we want about the technical aspects of these projectiles but if they are not used properly um there is always going to be the potential for misuse and there’s always going to be the potential for serious injury to occur as a result of the use of these weapons, and this is one of the big lessons that we can see from the United States which do not use the problematic rubber buckshot instead they use a number of weapons that are considered less problematic I would say however even in the case of the United States civilians who are not involved in violent protest are still being impacted by these weapons and this is a problem that is only that only seems to be growing in its magnitude at a global scale So changes to the protocols of use they may reduce the misuse but that’s only if the weapons the devices and the protocols I should say that have been proven to be excessively dangerous are either withdrawn or alternatively um changes are made to the rules that govern their use and finally just to end upon a lot of the long-term effects of some of these novel weapons in particular uh oc compound as well as the sonic weapons are still undetermined so it’s very difficult to evaluate this particular aspect of it. That is my presentation, I thank everybody

uh for listening and I’ll be happy to answer your questions once we get to that [J.V] Thank you Rohini and Scott um I’m going to show you some of the questions that our audience has made give me a wee second all right all right okay so Ihave a few questions that i will be collecting uh if you have more questions you can continue writing them in the chat um the first question is for Rohini: “Here in Chile sometimes people throw stones at police do you consider proportional the use of weapons in response to that?” [R.H] no no sorry here sorry do you hear an echo too [J.V] no I hear you well [R.H] just one second I don’t know why um so no absolutely not I don’t think that throwing stones is uh proportional to the use of these weapons because the first steps that’s a common very common um justification that’s used in Kashmir that’s used in Palestine like I can’t name the number of places where stone throwing is considered a reason to fire weapons but really there’s like much better ways of dealing with stone throwing, one is to actually do the obvious and address the needs of the protesters and what they’re asking from the state which is obviously too hard So really um if if there is a violent protest in their stone throwing or throwing of rocks or water bottles what we advise is that you arrest the individuals that are doing that you know not uh fire weapons the other thing is most police officers in these settings are wearing full riot control gear so a stone is not going to hurt them it really poses no imminent threat [S.R] Yeah if I could add to just add to that specifically in the case of Chile there’s a particular there’s a certain peculiarity because the principal way in which uh the police have responded uh historically to thrown stones uh are through the so-called the so-called rubber buckshot um and let me so let me pose a pose a particular scenario to you that might illustrate one of the problems of using um this particular munition to respond to something to an individual who is behaving violently. So let’s say a shotgun IS an appropriate response to throwing stones um what some of my work has shown in terms of uh looking at the how the disper the behavior of these projectiles you have to remember that there’s not a single projectile that is being shot with these uh particular weapons uh they’re 12 per cartridge and what happens with these particular projectiles is that with distance they disperse and the way that they disperse is not necessarily controllable by the person who is shooting them So what this means is that once you get beyond about 10 meters which is well below well within the minimum recommended distance at which these are fired uh you begin to have pellets that will not hit a human-sized target they’re going to miss the individual human size target once you get to the ranges where they are actually used it’s supposed to be used that is 30 meters or greater uh up to half or off or many many times more the majority of the pellets that are shot at a human sized target will not even hit the target that is to say they’re going to hit other people in the crowd so if you have one person in a crowd who throws a stone at the police and they fire around from a distance of let’s say 30 meters you would be responding proportionally to that person maybe or maybe not um however there may be three four five six people who are around this person who are not behaving violently who are being impacted by the use of this munition so there is one person for whom this munition may I guess suppose may be uh being responded to in a proportional fashion but there are a multitude of other people who have not been behaving violently who are being responded to disproportionately because they were not

involved in violent conduct So that’s I think one aspect uh that is somewhat unique to Chile in particular and they’re uh wide they’re somewhat unique use of these uh this rubber buckshot in mass which you don’t really see in almost any other country uh save for India um that might uh that that is that makes this question sort of even more complicated to think about even if you do consider the use of these shotgun rounds to be a legitimate use [J.V] Let’s continue with we have several questions and um uh I’m going to go to Paul Rocher because he’s from France and I think it’s very late over there uh and he made the following question uh Rohini, “First would you be interested in getting in touch with people involved in documenting injuries in France if it is not the case already uh second i have recently worked on less lethal weapons in France…” he just published a book on this topic “and the conclusion to which I came is that the use of weapons is considerably facilitated by precisely suggesting less lethality so what do you think of the idea that the very availability of such weapons increase the number of injuries [R.H] um First i have tried to look at injuries in friends but uh in our study like the ones we got were from a couple years ago in Marseille but I would love to work with people all over because i think the ultimate goal here is to create a surveillance system for these injuries so that we’re able to capture them like how Scott is trying to do in the US more globally and then in terms of uh what you said I think absolutely you are right the narrative is that these weapons are non-lethal and or less lethal and police at least in the US like to buy more gadgets and more toys and so that narrative makes it so that is in itself the reason that so many uh police departments buy these weapons and use them because they’re the story is that they’re not dangerous and then of course there’s tons of injuries but they don’t know about the injuries so they keep using them. So I think that needs to be cut in two ways one we need to show the injuries and two we need to regulate uh how much and how they’re used [J.V] uh Scott, Paul made the following question: “Could you tell us more about the statistical data on the use of lethal weapons? Do you come from official database? Independent collection data collection, in France for instance, official statistics are very incomplete and don’t record all types of weapons [S.R] So Rohini feel free to jump in on this one as well uh for my particular work in the United States uh yeah there aren’t any real what I would anything of what I consider official statistics out yet mainly because there’s not an organisation that I suppose it officially uh keeps track of this sort of thing uh especially in a sort of time sensitive manner so what my work is based on it’s based on media reports uh legal cases as well as a photographic and video evidence from social media it’s not nearly as scientific as what I would like but is it it’s what there is at this particular junction in time i think honestly a good model uh for the United States uh for other countries could be the institut the the INDH the institut de derechos humanos in Chile which is a organisation that specifically keeps track of these sort of things so that these uh these these uh incidents aren’t so someone doesn’t have to go searching for them in the same way that I’ve had to [J.V] Another question by Paul is sorry Paul sorry if I’m saying your name wrong my apologies, uh but the last question that he was making is: “Are you aware of the extent to which manufacturers actually test their less lethal weapons in conditions close to the reality of demonstrations.” [S.R] Rohini do you want to jump on that or would you like me to say? [R.H] No go ahead [S.R] so I think another question that we received raised the uh there was an internal report from the carabineros that was made in 2012 regarding the uh the uh the ballistics the qualitative ballistics of these shotgun rounds in uh the uh uh that was conducted within the within the carabineros it’s not really clear uh to what extent the results of that study

uh were actually like effectively distributed throughout the organization um I don’t know uh I am not an insider in the carabineros notice but I would the behaviour the subsequent behaviour of the organization makes me believe that this report was not circulated widely um in any case the way that these devices have been actually used is not in concordance uh with the recommendations of use by the manufacturer and so I think that’s important because even if the main no it doesn’t really matter to a certain extent the amount of testing that a manufacturer does if the user does not use them responsibly or does not use them correctly according to the instructions and so I think that testing is a very important aspect of understanding the hazards of these but again if the results are not respected by the users of these devices then it’s a something of a moot point [R.H] I see there’s a few questions about the Istanbul protocol and the Minnesota protocol so we actually use the Istanbul protocol guidelines uh for those of you who are asking what are those guidelines the Istanbul protocol is the guidelines uh the manual on documenting the use of uh torture and the Minnesota protocol is a forensic guideline on uh identifying like the cause of death especially when there’s been torture abuse in detention facilities so we haven’t specifically used those guidelines in uh documenting injuries because we were just doing retrospective reviews of the medical literature but again if we do a surveillance program um then I think some of the documentation principles would be very useful uh I actually work on the Istanbul protocol uh so so I’m very familiar with that document and so that would be really nice and then sorry [J.V] sorry I was just going to say that the three questions I have here all are I think trying to point out the questions that we are making in Chile about criminal liability by police officers from using these kind of weapons I’m not sure if if any of you have any thoughts on this [R. H] So the the question of intent is really hard there’s a few there’s a case of actually a prosecution in Egypt where it’s called the um the eye-sniper case if you want to Google it but basically a police officer was found to be specifically targeting people’s eyes with rubber bullets and shot pellets and the only way that they really were able to prove in the prosecution that it was intentional is that they had a like a social media or video recording where he said out loud I’m going for his eyes or something like that in in Arabic and even then he got very little uh punishment I think it was like 14 days probation or something ridiculously small I work also a lot on um human rights violations and crimes against humanity and in that section as well proving the intentionality is is is always the hardest part and so when I’ve studied this work I’ve looked I’ve tried to focus more on like the systematic problems and the um the lack of accountability that makes this possible and haven’t tried as hard to focus on individual intentionality like I think it’s much easier to get documentation and legal proof of kind of a systematic intentionality but the individual stuff would be really hard [J.V] um Thank you um let’s continue with the following question uh: “Hi Rohini, excluding bullets with metal component do you see any relevant differences in the injuries of the victims considering the specific KIP that was shot in the rubber bullets or plastic bullets or bean bag rounds?” would say that those are clear and then the other big thing which Scott alluded to is anything that has scatter shot so multiple um bullets or or batons within a single cartridge that fire at once uh any type of scatter shot is basically like a cluster munition um those are specifically more dangerous as

well in the studies and then this is sort of a weird one that I mentioned to Scott the other day but uh just anecdotally a lot of our contacts have been saying that pepper balls which are small pepper balls with uh basically like paintballs with pepper spray inside in the human rights side they’re really bad like from the medical angle because you’re mixing up a projectile with a chemical weapon but actually in practicality because they have to burst their membrane their wall is very thin so in some situations those are known to be less dangerous than a typical rubber bullet or or foam baton which is kind of interesting I don’t like to advocate for a single weapon to be actually considered safe and it’s definitely not safe especially if it hits the head or the face or the eye but um which is another question here I think uh but but the the joke around there is that the more companies that use pepper balls like especially in Turkey the less injuries we’re seeing from the other weapons [J.V] We have question here about the paintballs: “Do these new paintball guns also represent a substantial risk of eye injuries?” [R.H] Yeah especially Imean the paintball guns fire those pepper balls because like you know when you’re playing paintball for fun you have to wear eye protection and protesters do not wear eye protection or goggles and so this has a substance like this the eye injury risk for all of these is incredibly high [J.V] There are cases in Chile where the protesters start wearing eye protection, goggles um actually they they try to find especially uh hard protections is it was crazy okay continue with um [R.H] Like everyone’s allowed to protest like the right to protest is for everyone right children old people and it doesn’t say well you should have the right to protest if you make sure that you carry around a gas mask and eye goggles so as much as that’s a good idea it’s also really on the police to to acknowledge these risks you know [J.V] We’ll continue with the following question for both of you: “Where will you place the decision-making process regarding the addition or renewal of less lethal weapons, what kind of institutional arrangement do you think is generally best suits for carrying out this function?” [R.H] So can I ask you in Chile are the are the bullets and weapons that you’re getting maybe Scott or Javier you know this or maybe one of the audience are they being manufactured in Chile or are they being manufactured in other countries and sold to Chile a lot of weapons to manufacturers in Brazil it depends on the weapon actually and in Chile what we have is like people that buy and resell ammunition and concerning this question in Chile there is no regulation whatsoever of which kind of weapons the police should use actually the government has not exerted any control to whatever the the police want to use and that’s why as the Scott explained to you we know now because the report was leaked but police knew from 2012 the risk of the rubber buck shots and they never released that information to the public and as Scott told you uh last Friday they introduced new weapons and no one no one not the government not anyone else has accept any control to what they are the the they told us they are going to deploy so it’s it’s a very it’s a crazy situation needs to be like federal level regulation on manufacturing and sale especially if there’s cross-border sale then I think there must be some international kind of U.N. level regulation on that as well but but it’s so hard because I don’t know how it works there but like every police department just buys whatever it wants and there’s no regulations in the US or in most countries Imean there’s just I just feel like there’s so much to do like every little piece is a is a part of the puzzle so regulation on any part of manufacture sale use and then even on accountability at the very least if there’s some requirement to report on the numbers

like to have formal numbers that scott reported on like none of those this this work is so early and there’s like none of that exists globally so i think like any bit that you wanted to work on would be incredibly powerful [S.R] I think one of the big complicating factors for Chile as well is that the so the police uh are a param like uh like like dictionary definition of a paramilitary arm of the state uh in the sense that they are technically part of the military uh and as such uh there as a non-civilian organization um there’s a degree of opacity uh that exists within that organization that uh that like really really that that is that is just just unlike anything that Iknow from the United States um so I think so that’s definitely a big huge barrier to uh uh sort of sort of that question that is this question of you know how do you get more control over this organization because they are a national security institution and they’re not afraid of using the national security trump card so to speak uh to say well we can’t tell you that it’s national security here like you know how many weapons we got we can’t tell you, national security um so that’s organisationally in Chile that’s a that’s a big difficulty um (J.V] I think that Felipe is in the US he’s doing a PhD and he make this following question. “In the case of the u.s do you know if the expansion of militarized tactics to control crowds are related to the 1033 program?” [R.H] um I’ll leave that to Scott I actually I have to google that [S.R] uh The 1033 program just to confirm that’s the program uh that governs uh military sales uh to police uh organisations civilian police organisations? Yeah yeah uh it’s it’s part of I think a general more broad trend within the police within policing in the United States towards a uh militarisation of policing so that there’s a number of aspects to that you know I think the equipment is a very important aspect of it I think another one possibly the more important part is a shift in the culture of policing which is towards a more paramilitary perspective so this is all qualitative you know this is uh something that’s very uh difficult to uh sort of like put numbers to um but there’s there’s a lot of dialogue happening a lot of discourse happening right now in the United States over the military appearance the the military equipment as well as what seems to be somewhat militarised behavior of law enforcement in terms of how law enforcement responds to demonstrators I would say that qualitatively it’s definitely a factor um but it’s again it’s difficult to put numbers to something that is I think fundamentally a social phenomenon [J.V] As a final question I think the last questions are concerning which are your recommendations um in terms of how these weapon should be regulated uh who should be made accountable for this we’re currently as I told you in a campaign we take the government and police to court in order to try uh the court to forbid the use of rubber buck shots um any kind of recommendation on how police should be trained or which uh empirical evidence should be used uh if we should look to any kind of regulation that you have in the US or you are aware to have to to exist in the UK or France that will also be helpful [R.H] So the US is not a good model I would say just everything we’re doing like try to do the opposite but uh the UN has a new uh guideline called the UN guidance on less lethal weapons that provides very very good but reasonable guidance on use of less lethal weapons that was just published in February of 2020, worked hard on that uh This is older but in 1990 the UN published uh the basic principles on the use of force uh those are incredibly useful as well uh so those are the more international ones and then if I was to use um state level guidance I would probably look at the Irish and and the UK but I don’t know exactly like if they have it published in an

accessible way or not Yeah they’re useful, I mean I don’t want to let them off the hook because the British invented all of these weapons mostly for use against their colonies and so you know they’re not innocent parties but um and then in terms of training you know for me it’s easy to say like I’m a doctor so I would be like the point is not to train them I mean part of the role might be to train folks on the safety of these weapons but there’s a bigger part of training that is missing is when to use the weapons and what are human rights and what are the rights to peaceful speech and assembly and I think that that is a huge piece that even if we don’t talk about the details of like the weight of the weapon or the caliber or you know the metal composite like the bigger huge missing part across the globe is these questions about you know an imminent threat is not a threat to the street or traffic or property it’s a threat to public health and and that police need to be aware that their role is not to um police the protests but really to support and engage with their community they’re part of that community and I think like if they start from that kind of human rights framework like a lot of these other things would be pretty obvious [S.R] This in Chile it’s an extremely tough problem because the organisation is just so uh rigid it’s it’s military it has a hierarchy um and in a very real sense it is not connected to the community you know it’s it’s it’s a really really tricky uh question because as Rohini you know observed like community the policing effective policing the community at its heart has the well-being of the community in mind uh and unless you have that link it’s really really hard to uh sort of from an outsider’s view or stance to get enact change from outside in with regards to Chile I think one avenue that I haven’t seen discussed a lot um is I suppose um telling or making it clear to the carabineros how changing their use of force to something that is less damaging what benefits it might have for their institution it’s I just I have the sensation that it’s just not really seen how much of a public relations disaster their indiscriminate use of less lethal weapons has been for them as an institution and in the end it it it’s about building if we’re looking to create these links between community and um and policing both sides have got to give something of course but in the terms of the carabineros they have a lot to gain honestly from moving away from the the “mano dura” you know this heavy-handed approach that they have always used to deal with protesters and that is patently we have 20 at least 20 years of experience saying it simply doesn’t work it simply does not achieve the overall political goals of the state I think that’s something that I have seen absent from the public discourse at the very least who knows what they’re saying inside the organisation um but if you have an organisation whose structure and position within the state can’t necessarily be changed I think to him to push that change on a rigid organisation like that it has to be made very obvious how much they have to gain from such a change [J.V] Thank you both for your time uh for sharing all your knowledge with us um and I hope we continue with this cycle of criminology, I hope that we may have people from the mega research foundation later um and I think we’re going to continue to make network with people all around the world that have been working in this area and of course uh well we are currently working with Scott already, Catalina and I and once again thank you I’m going to uh we are transcribing this session right now so we’re going to upload this video

with subtitles in Spanish for everyone that doesn’t understand our accents. um Thank you again and thank you everyone for sharing and coming today [R.H] No thank you for having us and I’d love to continue working with your team [S.R] thank you everyone for assisting I really we really appreciate it [J.V] I wish you a good evening although here is already already nighttime and I think Paul, it’s midnight in in France um I will share your emails if you allow me I can share your email with Paul? Okay thank you Take care bye bye bye you