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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47 Comments

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Unfortunately there is an epidemic of REALLY bad policing. Time after time, we see that the police response to protests about police brutality is ... MORE police brutality. Who thought that was a good idea!?! How does that help their reputation? It's as if they want to prove to everyone: Yes, we really are as brutal as we wanna be! We see scenes of shocking rioting and looting with absolutely NO police present. Police are nowhere in sight. Rioters and looters cause massive destruction seemingly with no police within a mile of them. Nobody is getting arrested while businesses are getting destroyed. At the same time, we see scenes of genuine protesters (not looting or rioting) where the police charge through and randomly hit people, arrest people, trample people, etc. I've seen video after video of really disgraceful police action. Several videos of burly police (men) shoving women on the ground without a care whether they crack their heads open and kill them. A video of police destroying a supply of protestors' water bottles. Several videos of police tearing off people's face coverings in order to chemically torture them. A video of police intentionally knocking down an older man barely walking with his cane. Several videos of journalists being arrested and/or targeted with weapons. Etc. Police had seemingly infinite patience for being shouted at by right-wing anti-social-distancing protestors carrying weapons into and around government buildings, but they have a really short fuse when it comes to citizens protesting police brutality. Police seem to love burning down any good will they may have earned as the good guys who fight crime. That's just dumb.

T Lewis's picture

There are bad cops no doubt, the majority are good people doing a job that’s very difficult. That being said don’t lump all cops in the bad column. Peaceful protest usually has a very low response riots and violence will usually get a hard response. What I have seen so far has been very few peaceful protests and a lot of rioting. I agree with the protest but after the facts have come out and we know what happened for sure. Then go from there.

Matt Williams's picture

All of the protests have started out peacefully and then elevated to rioting once the police escalated. Shooting tear gas. Rubber bullets. Pepper spray. Beating people. Yeah, I'd riot too if they came in and did that to me and my community.

The truth is: riots have historically been one of the only ways to affect change. They've protested many times just in the past decade. Nothing changed. Sorry, but sometimes you have to burn shit. History has many examples of white folks rioting and burning and looting because of injustice. What do you think the Boston Tea Party was?

The majority of cops are not good. They may not kill people, but they don't speak up. When was the last time a cop came out and said "hey, there's shady stuff happening in my department, y'all need to know"? Can't recall one. 99% of cops just stay silent. And a lot of them then go to these protests and escalate the situation. Police in other countries are trained to deescalate. In America, they standard is to shoot first, think later. And the get to continue on being cops without repercussion after doing so.

If you're a cop and you aren't standing up and saying "this system is racist and needs to change," you're part of the problem.

Everyone defending the police at these riots and how they've reacted and behaved with the protesters would 100% have supported Hitler. These people are a modern Gestapo.

Keep burning stuff, is what I say. Burn until people actually decide to listen.

To put it simply: if you're upset about the symptoms, treat the disease.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Hey Matt, I appreciate your supportive comment below, but I can't agree with rioting. "Burning stuff" hurts a lot of innocent people, so it just adds injustice on top of injustice. Most protestors would disagree with you because wanton destruction does not help their cause. And there are some amazing examples of police marching with, not against, peaceful protestors. But I agree that, by and large, the system is broken. Too many police have no clue about how to de-escalate. They are a very blunt instrument. They are proving themselves to be as wanton about hurting journalists and protestors as they are about killing George Floyd.

Matt Williams's picture

Believe me, I totally understand why you feel that way. It isn't unreasonable or even wrong. It's a very gray topic.

From my POV, nothing over decades and decades has worked. Protests alone haven't changed anything.

And if you look at history, a lot of huge, structural changes came about because people burned shit. Some problems can be solved through protest alone. Not problems like this.

But I respect your opinion and glad to see your other views are spot on about police in general.

Shaun Carta's picture

"Protests alone haven't changed anything."

The number of people killed by the police has gone down considerably over the years. You don't consider that a change?

Gregory Mills's picture

Actually the Police killings are going up slightly each year according to an article on VOX yesterday (May 31) written by Sean Collins entitled The Anger Behind the Protests, Explained in 4 Charts. "Mapping Police Violence’s data, which is gathered from public databases and law enforcement records, also shows that the number of police killings has trended slightly upward from 2013 to 2019 — in that span, the number of killings falls to a low of 1,050 in 2014, and has a high of 1,143 in 2018"

What has gone down, according to the article, is violent crime rates.

Finally, because we are good at forgetting the victims, Linda Tirado if you read this, I am so sorry about your eye but I admire your spirit.

Matt Williams's picture

Thank you for chiming in with that data. Killings by police have only gone down considerably if you're comparing now to 1960. Otherwise, nope, the past ten to twenty years if not longer it has not considerably improved.

And even if it fluctuates from year to year, it does so little. This year will probably be quite low because of COVID and people being at home a lot. Just like the number of school shootings and mass shootings will be a record low this year compared to at least the past five if not ten years because of COVID.

Alex Herbert's picture

There's also some excellent examples of police officers taking a knee in 'solidarity' then pepper spraying protesters moments later. Marching with protesters for an hour isn't much good when they go right back to being 'cops' afterwards.

paul aparycki's picture

burning stuff doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as "licenced" murder . . . which usa police do on a regular basis

T Lewis's picture

Vox is a joke. Matt you’re all for the violence and destruction, “ burn it down “ until they show up at your house then you will be wanting cops to be there to protect you and your family. If the cops stood down and stopped doing their job you would be yelling just as loud. Like I have said I agree with the protest but those that are rioting have destroyed all credibility and makes real changes even harder . Those that are rioting are criminals and should be treated as such.

Matt Williams's picture

I haven't heard of them burning down people's houses. Is that happening or is that just a scenario you made up to make a point?

David Pavlich's picture

Can you justify burning up a camera shop in Chicago? Protests are a necessary part of a free society. Property rights are also a huge part of a free society. When 'protesters' cross the line and violate property rights, then it's a crime. Spin it as you wish, it's still a crime.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

No business should be burned down anywhere. Or looted. My problem is with police basically letting that happen while they're busy forming a "line" somewhere against protestors, and then randomly charging / hurting protestors, journalists, etc. — violating their constitutional right of free speech — instead of arresting those who are actually burning / looting / breaking. I've now seen too many videos that confirm this pattern: police are lined up on the street like some 18th century militia. What's up with that? Or they're marching and hitting / shooting / spraying / arresting actual protestors. Meanwhile, the rioters / looters are getting away with wanton destruction of property. In NYC they arrested the Mayor's daughter who was absolutely just protesting and following instructions. That's just dumb policing and a waste of resources. Meanwhile, lots of people got away with breaking store windows and carrying away stolen goods. Or see my comment below about police in D.C. totally ignoring the white guy physically breaking up the sidewalk with a hammer in order to make rocks to throw at the police. It took actual protestors to jump on him and turn him over to the police who were standing by doing nothing.

Matt Williams's picture

They've literally brought in militarized forces in LA.

A number of cities - Los Angeles, Boston, I believe Chicago, Cincinnati - all issued curfews less than one hour before the start of the curfew. In one city's case, two minutes before. Los Angeles issued a curfew 40 minutes before it started and then shut down the bus system.

They are actively trying to trap people into violating curfew and escalate the situation.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Yep. It's old-style policing, guaranteed to violate people's rights and build resentment.

Matt Williams's picture

Funny you mention the camera store that burned.

Here's what the owners think of that: "Although this is a tough time for the store, it doesn’t compare to the loss of George Floyd’s life and the countless other Black lives lost. We stand with the African American community in solidarity."

Nice try, though.

David Pavlich's picture

Of course he did as any other sound minded person would. Your attempt to twist the owner's words into some sort of 'it's okay that my store was destroyed' is pathetic. If you honestly believe that the store owner was pleased that his store was destroyed because he supports that fact that Floyd's life was needlessly taken....well, I'll leave it there.

Matt Williams's picture

Jesus dude. Of course he wasn't pleased.

He clearly UNDERSTANDS why it happened and empathizes with them. If you can't see how the owner of a business making that statement after his business is burned down is not an example of how SOME people actually understand why this is happening. He does.

There's no "of course he did" what any other person would. Most people would say they were pissed off.

David Pavlich's picture

Clear this up for me; is it that he empathizes with the protesters or the criminals that burned his camera shop or both? I guess logic goes out the window when trying to square how anyone would believe that burning down a business is in any way a good way to avenge the death of a person that in no way, shape, or form had anything to do with a camera shop in a completely different city.

As a former business owner, I'm going to take an educated guess and say that the camera shop owner kept the doors locked and had an alarm system when the shop was closed. This was done to deter bad guys from robbing his store. But somehow, you deem it okay to burn a business to the ground that had nothing to do with this murder. "Keep burning stuff, is what I say." Your words....

You're no better than the criminals that are actually doing the burning. The only difference is you hide behind a keyboard.

Matt Williams's picture

Dude, either you're being purposefully obtuse or simply cannot read words and then comprehend the meaning.

To clear it up: He empathizes with both. He understands WHY it happened. WHY they did it. Is he pleased they did? Most certainly not. Is he happy? Almost definitely no. That's not the point. He UNDERSTANDS why rioting happens and why it is sometimes a necessary evil.

Read that last word again. Evil. It is not ok to burn businesses as you say it, without context. Rioting is and historically has been often the only way that changed anything. So when that happens - when things finally change - you can bet that I'm weighing that as a positive outcome in spite of the losses to people and company's property. Necessary evil.

And no shit he locked the doors and all that. He surely doesn't support a person robbing his store for the hell of it. These people are not doing this for the hell of it.

You seem incapable of understanding intent, purpose, and rationale behind all this. You act like it exists in a vacuum and you act like it is all about one murder. It isn't. It's about thousands murdered by police and the racism that has plagued our country since 1776. One murder may spark the fire, but it grows because of everything that happened prior.

That's all I say now, I'm wasting my time explaining this to you. Back to hide behind my keyboard.

Andrew Johnson's picture

If you think the riots and looting are anything like the Boston Tea Party you are wildly ignorant about history and should probably do some research before you try and make that not even marginally close comparison...

Deleted Account's picture

I live in MPLS and have seen first hand what has been happening. The rioting/looting/destruction is in many cases being instigated by people who are not from here, white supremacy groups that have shown up to intimidate the crowds, or police who start macing people who are peaceful. There have been a TON of young white kids showing up to throw things at police and vandalize buildings which doesn't help anyone.

The police in turn, start targeting everyone.

Our local government and law enforcement leaders have even acknowledged that outside groups have started to flood our city.

Matt Williams's picture

Thank you, sir. I have not seen this first hand but it is exactly what I have read/heard from dozens upon dozens of sources across the country.

There's a name for cops going undercover to instigate riots too: agent provocateur. There's a history of it in this country, as well as us doing it in other countries.

Dale Karnegie's picture

This is a complicated topic. The protests consist of:

1. People who believe in a cause who have gathered to peacefully bring awareness to an issue they feel is important
2. Opportunists who take advantage of the situation to enrich themselves or damage property without consequence
3. People who are covering the event as part of the media
4. Police presence

The peaceful protestors believe that if you argue that the crowds should be dispersed due to the existence of opportunists, you are arguing against their cause...Meanwhile, some police officers deny the existence of peaceful protestors at all, they believe they are all opportunists.

My take is:
- Peaceful protestors need to acknowledge opportunists are highjacking their cause
- Police need to acknowledge that not _all_ present are opportunists

Both need to work together to keep peacefully protesting...it's their right.

As far as journalists go, it's up to them to what degree they want to put themselves in harms' way. I can't say whether or not the police did anything wrong without knowing more. There's a degree of assumption of risk when you get close to these things....

and because the journalist doesn't seem unbiased, I'm not convinced she wasn't entirely fault free for the situation she finds herself in...If she was getting up close and personal with some of the opportunists -- and rubber bullets flew in her direction, I'm may have been a risk she was willing to assume

Erpillar Bendy's picture

It's not as complicated as you say. First of all:
1. of course, peaceful protestors DO acknowledge that there are "opportunists" (actually criminals) hijacking their cause; and
2. of course, police DO acknowledge that not all protestors are "opportunists".
So that part is done. There's no point in prescribing that as a solution, because it's already done and done.

Secondly, as professionals, police should always be able to distinguish who is who. If they can't, here is a basic lesson from Policing 101:
A. person protesting by means of chanting, shouting, marching, carrying signs, etc. = protestor to be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights.
B. person engaged in destruction (burning, looting, breaking, throwing rocks, etc.) = criminal to be arrested.
C. person with journalist ID engaged in reporting, photographing, broadcasting, etc. = journalist to be left alone to exercise their constitutional rights.

See how easy that is? The problem is that police culture/training/whatever makes them a blunt semi-blind instrument incapable of making these fundamental distinctions. Where there's actual looting and rioting, the police are missing in action. Where there's actual protest, the police come down like a fist out of some dictatorship.

Dale Karnegie's picture

You're entitled to your opinion; but I disagree that the first part is "done and done." I've seen plenty who refuse to acknowledge those very basic points.

Furthermore, once the points are acknowledged, it requires a change in behavior from both the police _and_ the protestors. Yes, the police have to be more careful about identifying where force is required. But also, the protestors must reconsider their form of protest if it's been overrun by the opportunists

the short story is that both sides must help one another to prevent riots; once peace is reestablished, return to protesting peacefully

Matt Williams's picture

No. This is on the police, not the protestors. Maybe you haven't kept up thoroughly, but all across the countries are HUNDREDS of videos every day of police macing, pepper spraying, beat, running cars into, shooting rubber bullets, tear gassing, etc etc. And they're doing it to peaceful protestors.

Most police across the nation require 8 hours or fewer of deescalation education. THAT'S IT. Police here constantly - at every possible opportunity - escalate situations. There are few departments in the nation that demand robust deescalation training.

Police here are rogue militants. It HAS to stop. Until it does, people SHOULD burn shit down.

David Pavlich's picture

Too bad you don't own a business in the line of fire. Heck, you could go there with a can of gasoline and burn your own business in solidarity with the criminals. Then you could really say that all my bluster on the internet I back up with action. Burn baby, burn!!

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Sorry Dale, but it sounds like you are out of touch. There are plenty of protestors who are doing nothing more than protesting. They are loud but they are peaceful. They don't need to reconsider anything. I'm seeing a lot of videos of police smashing into actual protestors who are doing nothing more than protesting (shouting, holding signs, etc.). Also videos of police shooting rubber bullets and chemical sprays at protestors. There's no reason for that other than to be brutal. If the police can't tell a protestor from a rioter/looter, then they should find a different career.

There are some videos of people who are legit protestors identifying rogue "opportunists" as you call them. There's a video of one (white) jackass in D.C., breaking up a sidewalk with a hammer so that people would have rocks to throw at the police. But then some heroic peaceful protestors tackle him and turn him over to the police. The one thing puzzling about that video is that the police were right there, just standing by, doing absolutely nothing to stop a guy from breaking up the sidewalk to throw rocks at them.

There's another video of a heroic black woman yelling at two idiotic (white) women spray painting graffiti on a Starbucks. Those women should be arrested for destruction of property. I've seen two other similar videos where protestors confront trouble makers who are stealing or destroying.

My point is: protestors KNOW very well that their are criminal "opportunists" derailing the protest with acts of destruction. Contrast this with police who beat up, trample, knock down, shoot, spray, etc. actual protestors & journalists who aren't stealing or destroying anything.

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