During protests over the killing of George Floyd Sunday in Downtown San Diego police fired pepper balls and rubber bullets into a crowd of mostly peaceful protesters on 2nd Avenue and Broadway.
Police say their use of non-lethal force was to deter instigators hurling bottles and other objects their way, but protestor Eryn Roberts, who said she was demonstrating peacefully, was caught in the middle.
" I had my hands in the air holding my sign. I could hear and feel the glass bottles coming and feel the shots from this direction,” Roberts remembered.
The 31-year-old San Diegan’s live video feed captured the moment she suffered a gaping 3-inch arm wound as a result of the altercation. And when volunteer EMT’s raced to help.
“I don’t know if it was glass, I don't know what hit me,” Roberts could be heard saying on the video. “It might have been a rubber bullet.”
“You were really close," someone helping said.
Though it's unclear what sliced her arm, a spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department said that type of injury isn’t consistent with the tactics they were deploying.
"The munitions used aren't intended to cause gash wounds or the severe bleeding pictured. And if medical attention is needed we would render aid or request additional assistance,” a department spokesperson said.
"They walked me through the barricade and said if I wanted to get medical attention I had to walk by myself five blocks through a police barricade where they had armed guards and snipers,” she recounted. “I'm a black woman. This is about police brutality. I'm not walking by myself."
With her arm in a cast, the now wounded social justice warrior is ready to return to the frontlines of peaceful protests so instigators can't hijack the narrative.
"We’re not going to let those 10 people ruin the message we’re trying to send, which is black lives matter,” she said. “We will not be silenced. And police brutality can’t continue."
Roberts had to undergo surgery to repair a damaged tendon. She'll be in the cast for six to eight weeks and will have to undergo physical training to hopefully regain full range of motion.
SDPD has said it respects peoples' First Amendment right to peaceful demonstrations and they will be facilitated, but also vowed to respond to violent acts with necessary force.