Photojournalist Permanently Blinded in Left Eye After Being Shot by Police While Reporting on Minneapolis Riots

Photojournalist Permanently Blinded in Left Eye After Being Shot by Police While Reporting on Minneapolis Riots

A photographer and journalist has been blinded after a police bullet “exploded” her eyeball while she documented the riots currently ongoing in Minneapolis.

Hopes of the sight in her left eye being saved were dashed after doctors revealed, post-surgery, there was nothing they could do to save it.

Linda Tirado says that after being shot by police, a group of protestors took her to hospital and gave her medical supplies in the process. She had been reporting on and photographing the riots in protest of the actions of the Minneapolis police department in the killing of George Floyd.

Taking to Twitter, she wrote:

What we think happened is I took a rubber bullet to the face. It exploded my eyeball, which has now been patched back together but who knows if it’ll need more surgery. My vision is gone no matter what it winds up looking like scar-wise.

Although her vision will never return, the wounds will take around six months to heal.

She also said it wasn’t her “photography eye,” so she remains optimistic she can continue working. Seemingly in good spirits, she continued to tweet out jokes at her own expense to her 70,000 Twitter followers. She has vowed to continue reporting on the situation in Minneapolis as it continues.

Lead image by Randy Colas on Unsplash.

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Dale Karnegie's picture

> There are plenty of protestors who are doing nothing more than protesting

I agree.

> I'm seeing a lot of videos of police smashing into actual protestors who are doing nothing more than protesting (shouting, holding signs, etc.).

I agree.

> but it sounds like you are out of touch.
> My point is: protestors KNOW very well that their are criminal "opportunists" derailing the protest with acts of destruction.

cool; I think we are on the same page. you think I'm out of touch because I disagree with the solution to this problem.

My proposed solution is that the police and protestors should change their behavior until the opportunists are weeded out. Yours is apparently to blame the police and only the police for the situation.

I'd be happy to admit I'm wrong if your proposed solution will actually work. I jus't don't think it will; Moreover, I think the violence will be politicized and the protestors' main point (the police discriminate against black people) will be drowned out by the fires and destroyed property.

But let's just wait and see; its an experiment that's playing out in real time -- we can see how effective your strategy really is

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Of course the opportunists (criminals) should be weeded out. Some protestors are even trying to do that. But what should the protestors do "until the opportunists are weeded out"? Should they just stay home and twiddle their thumbs?

There is no point when it can be said "OK, all those opportunists have been weeded out, so let's go have a protest now". Your solution won't work because opportunists will just show up again at another time and place. Like that white guy breaking the sidewalk with a hammer in order to throw rocks at the police, or the white gals spray painting Starbucks. Their agenda is to not to protest but to cause chaos and destruction. And too often the police are not even trying to weed them out.

I am blaming the police because I see example after example of the police harassing and hurting protestors and journalists who are neither breaking nor stealing, while looters and rioters get away with destruction. The police have a job to do and it's not to beat on protesters. Their job is to fight crime to protect life and property. That's their professional duty. When, instead, they are hurting protestors and journalists, they're just proving the point that they're out of control and don't know how to do their job.

We're never going to see "how effective my strategy is" because, with few exceptions, most police follow an entirely different strategy. They treat protestors like criminals, while real criminals run free and cause horrible destruction. The police make themselves busy with militaristic efforts to "clear" streets, and then beat up / shoot / spray / arrest everybody in their path. That's a tactic against protestors. Meanwhile, actual rioters and looters are breaking into stores far from the police line, and carrying out stolen goodies or burning down buildings, free to cause more damage the next day.

Matt Williams's picture

^^^100% what Mr. Bendy said. He's getting downvoted but he is on the right side of history here.

His point A: absolutely accurate. The same people complaining about the protests are the ones who claim to love the constitution too (or maybe they really just love the 2nd amendment).

Point B: I would agree if that person was INCITING destruction - it's been shown that some cops are going in to incite destruction undercover, and white supremacist groups are sending people in to incite looting. But also, in this situation, rioting is not unreasonable, provided those who are rioting are legitimate protestors for the cause. History can point to MANY examples of rioting being the only thing that resulted in change.

Point C: 100%. When they arrested that entire CNN crew (while live on air) - that was totally illegal. Shooting at a journalist: illegal. They have a RIGHT to be there.

"Where there's actual protest, the police come down like a fist out of some dictatorship." EXACTLY. And that's when the riots begin. None of these started out as riots.

Dale Karnegie's picture

I can only speak from personal experience; I live in an area where there were mass protests and the police had to respond just outside of my building's window. I watched it all unfold first hand -- terrified the entire time tbh.

In my area, the police calmly stood the line for quite a while while protestors pelted them with bottles and insults. At one point, the protestors began smashing arbitrary car windows with tire irons...In the end, they fired tear gas and flash bangs to disperse them.

I think its a bit of conspiracy theory to believe that the violent ones were undercover police officers...the entire crowd cheered as they threw bottles at the police...

I think policing can be discriminatory (and there is unequal protection under the law) -- but, in this specific case, any blanket statements about the protestors being 100% innocent are naive.

Matt Williams's picture

Never said all protestors were 100% innocent. Like I said, there are rogue people going to these and inciting violence. You could look at them and think they're protestors too.

And I'm not saying none of the real protestors don't do things like that. Though, if police respond to INSULTS with TEAR GAS AND FLASH BANGS.... I think that proves my point.

Dale Karnegie's picture

They responded to people throwing bottles and smashing cars with tire irons with force (not just insults..) -- they also didn't respond immediately, instead using their blowhorn to ask the crowd to disperse as this was all going on. From my vantage point, it was justifiable as things were getting worse and worse over the course of the evening. The specific incident that stirred them to action was when they set a dumpster on fire...

again, I believe its a conspiracy theory that the ones inciting violence were "undercover police" -- the violent protestors were young, stupid kids; I hardly think they would have made it through the academy...and the crowd was loving it each time an officer was hit

your response confirms my assertion that people only hear what they want to hear...and we are not on the same page; which is the first step towards peaceful protest

Matt Williams's picture

of course not all the ones inciting violence were cops. Never said they were. I said numerous instances of that happening have been documented. As well as white supremacists.

anyway, yeah we aren't, and that's fine. I'll continue to support whatever it takes to get the job done. Whatever it takes, short of mass murder.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

I think you're basically describing bad policing. You say "the police calmly stood the line for quite a while". So they weren't arresting people who smashed a car, threw a rock or set a dumpster on fire. They just stood by "for quite a while". Hmmmmm. The police then "fired tear gas and flash bangs to disperse them". So instead of arresting criminals, they started using weapons to randomly hurt people, including legitimate protestors and journalists alike. So the police have a technique to build resentment, while letting criminals get away.

And while the police were busy "standing the line", looting criminals were likely on some other block, breaking into stores and setting stuff on fire. I'm sure the real criminals know not to be near any police "standing the line"; they can simply go to a different block to burn & steal. This is why we see videos of police busy "standing the line" and then dispersing the crowd, while we also see videos of rampant looting / burning / breaking with no police anywhere in sight.

Dale Karnegie's picture

They were trying to deescalate through communication; they stood by and tried to de-escalate via their loud speakers. In spite of being pelted with beer bottles and broken glass, they were reassuring the crowd of their support of George Floyd (echoing a statement that our police chief made earlier that day...). I suspect they also felt that it might agitate the crowd if they ran in and arrested someone. They only acted once the fire was set -- which I suspect was some sort of line that was crossed (arson is, afterall, quite serious).

IMO, There's an amazing level of cognitive dissonance required to paint all police officers in a negative light here; I come from a liberal state, the officers are very aware of racial relations and we have a large minority police force.

You can choose to believe what you want, but I predict that, in the end, George Floyd's cause is going to be overshadowed by 1) riots and 2) sound bites of people defending rioters.

I still maintain that the protestors should have done more to distance them selves from the anarachists and looters -- and regrouped at a later time to continue their peaceful protest. Instead, there's a tribal defense of bad-behavior that helps no one -- especially the cause that inspired the protests

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Tribal defense of bad behavior? I don't think so. From what I've seen in videos, a lot of protestors have tried to distance themselves from rioters/looters. Some have turned on the rioters and even turned them in. A lot of protestors very sensibly know that the rioters/looters aren't helping their cause.

Police are doing plenty to paint themselves in a bad light. Video after video shows it, starting with the video that started it all. It's almost as if that's their goal. I've seen videos of protestors being kicked, shot, shoved and sprayed for doing nothing more than shouting. By contrast, heavily armed right wing protestors got treated with utmost police professionalism when they shouted at police about pandemic restrictions.

You suspect that officers "might agitate the crowd" if they ran in and arrested someone? Wow, you are being way too generous with them, letting them off the hook for not doing their job. Remember that their job is to arrest people committing crimes. Standing around "holding a line" does not get that job done.

So what do they do instead? They TOTALLY agitate the crowd by randomly hurting people throughout the crowd, taking down protestors, journalists and bystanders alike. Yeah, that'll show 'em! Don't arrest the actual criminals that loot, break & burn. Instead, just use random indiscriminate violence against *everybody* in the street. That's old-style policing — unprofessional — and a great way to build resentment, The people who are actually burning & looting know very well that they simply have to avoid the street that has that imposing "police line". So easy to do. That's how they get away with destroying stores, cars, etc. Sadly there's plenty of evidence of people getting away with massive destruction with absolutely zero police anywhere around.

There are police in some places that have found a better way. They are able to de-escalate, allow protest, and gain the trust of the protestors. But that better way of policing hasn't reached some of the big cities yet. They are still policing the OLD — often lawless — way, the way that prompts protests in the first place. Time after time they are acting like thugs, randomly (sometimes severely) hurting people who are legitimately protesting or people like Linda Tirado, who are clearly journalists, not rioters or looters.

Dale Karnegie's picture

I don't think a targeted strike like you suggest was really an option -- the ones throwing things were surrounded by protestors so it was hard to identify who threw it. Also the entire crowd cheered each time, so I'm not sure there was any real effort to create a division between the "good ones" and "bad ones" as you say.

I think you are oversimplifying the situation in order to push your narrative; the reality on the ground is unfortunately more nuanced and complicated. I find that most people hate nuance.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

You're right: "no real effort" ... to do the right thing. And you're right: charging a crowd and randomly hurting people is not ... "nuanced". Unfortunately, it's also bad policing. It violates people's rights and doesn't serve justice. While the police were busying with their "line" against protestors, the looters and rioters were probably getting away with wanton destruction on some other street, easily avoiding police. Police are stuck with outdated methods and training. They CAN identify and arrest people who throw stuff or break stuff — that would put a stop to the throwing & breaking — but they would rather just shut down the entire protest, randomly hurting protestors, journalists and bystanders. After all, it's a protest against police brutality, which is a message they're not wanting to hear. Recall how police had infinite professional patience when (armed) white protestors were shouting about the pandemic shutdown. But they'll totally waste their time arresting journalists for CNN, who are simply reporting and complying with instructions. What an utterly stupid waste of police resources. I can't even describe how dumb that is. Or they'll shoot photojournalists like Linda Tirado. That's just too stupid, not to mention WRONG.

Ken Flanagan's picture

Sorry that happened to her. Terrible.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

It's sad what we're seeing - reading & hearing.

But to me it's absolutely no surprise with this president. It's not the first time - and every time there's hope it'll change - but it doesn't. There has been so many violence - and nothing changes. Because when there's no will to change the system with a 2/3 majority - there won't be a change at all. To change this system you may need more than half a century - and a real change of heart - more common sense.

It'll become harder - because there 'll be a 2nd wave of covid-19 due to the mass gatherings - and let's hope you'll have enough testing to keep it under control. If not - it has the potential of being worse than the first wave. If the system fails - you'll pay a heavy price.

The real test for dr. Trump is coming - let's hope for you all the virus goes away - but to be honest i don't believe in miracles (and i don't believe his cures) - look at the stats of Iran - there's a 2nd wave and it's hitting them harder than the first wave.

Wish you all the best.

Matt Williams's picture

YUP. Not the first time and tons of protests over just the past six years have changed nothing. And we've only had cellphones with video for like 10 years. Imaging everything that happened and we never saw the truth about before that.

When there's injustice of this magnitude for this long, and you protest and protest, and nothing changes, you can't be surprised that people are burning things in the street. They've put up with far too much for too long. Enough is enough and we're at that point.

David Butler II's picture

Mutley Dastardly, Is that your real name? Do you even own a camera?

paul aparycki's picture

donnie, the great orange, the world's biggest asshole . . . would be proud