Sam Levine, a self-identified citizen journalist, was injured after Seattle police reportedly tossed blast balls into a crowd of May Day protesters on May 1. Levine was trying to film the cops when a blast ball landed near him (video below).
"I saw a bright flash of light," Levine told KOMO. "My ears started ringing. And then the entire left side of my face went numb."
A blast ball is a less-lethal hand grenade used by police. According to Levine, his face was hit by a piece of shrapnel from the ball, and it caused a 1-inch gash on his left cheek. The injury was treated by doctors at a local hospital.
"Maybe [the police] did everything perfectly and some guy just didn't do his job right," Levine said. "Maybe, yeah, I dunno."
"We had some violence," Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said during a press conference on May 2. "We had some property damage. We have officers attacked. The demonstrators put some innocent people in jeopardy, so we had to take action."
"All force used by officers during the evening will be thoroughly reviewed, as per department policies developed in partnership with the United States Department of Justice," the Seattle Police blotter stated on May 2.
In 2015, O'Toole opposed the city's Community Police Commissioners demand for the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct forums regarding Seattle Police's treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters, reported The Stranger.
Levine said he may take legal action against the police, according to KOMO.
"It sucks that this happened, but more than anything I would just like other people not to get into the same position and ideally people not to get into a worse position," he said.
Another purported video of the incident was filmed by YouTube user Mike BlueHair who added commentary and slow motion.
According to the police, five officers were injured and there were nine people arrested during the protests.
This isn't the first time Seattle Police has come under fire for its use of blast balls. Two medics filed a lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department in July 2015 after the police allegedly used excessive force and suppressed First Amendment rights on May Day of that year, noted The Stranger.
"The weapons and tactics were designed to injure and terrorize citizens and dissuade them from engaging in political speech," the lawsuit stated. "Although for years May Day events have featured a large number of peaceful protestors and a small number of property damage incidents, the defendants planned, authorized, implemented, and/or ratified policies subjecting to violence everyone protesting and exercising their constitutional rights."