As protesters filled the streets of downtown San Jose, Calif., recently, the police fired munitions known as rubber bullets into the crowd — a common technique to disperse throngs.
Breanna Contreras’s head jerked back from the impact as a black projectile “roughly the size of an extra-jumbo marshmallow” struck her temple, near her eye. “I instantly felt my head just starting to throb, blood poured down my face,” Ms. Contreras, a 21-year-old student, said.
A bystander who used her face mask to help stop the bleeding was also struck. “There were so many rubber bullets being fired, I wanted to think how to protect my eyes,” said Peter di Donato, 75, a veteran of anti-Vietnam War protests, who was hit in the leg. Derrick Sanderlin, 29, a community organizer, approached a line of police officers to ask them to stop. But he got hit too — in the groin —