“Less Lethal” Crowd Control

“Less Lethal” Crowd Control

You may have heard of “non-lethal” or “less lethal” weapons used for crowd control. These include things such as pepper spray, tear gas, bean bags, and rubber bullets. But, while these may be less lethal than standard weapons and bullets, they still cause serious harm and even death. As protests raged across the U.S. this summer, we have seen many injuries associated with these methods. Dr. James Chenoweth, an emergency physician and toxicologist, joins us to explain what these weapons are and what kind of damage they can cause, as well as some tips for treating these injuries. Dr. Kara Toles worked as a street medic in the recent protests in Sacramento. She shares her experience, including key supplies she carries in her pack, and what it’s like to be in the middle of a peaceful protest turned violent. As physicians, we should be concerned about the physical injuries these crowd control methods cause, as well as the psychological effects.  

Have you treated patients with injuries from so called non lethal crowd control methods?  Share your thoughts and experiences with us on social media @empulsepodcast, or through our website, ucdavisem.com.

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Dr. Julia Magaña, Associate Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at UC Davis

Dr. Sarah Medeiros, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis


Dr. Kara Toles, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis

Dr. James Chenoweth , Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicologist at UC Davis


This Week in Toxicology Tear Gas, Pepper Spray, and Rubber Bullets: A Primer

Penetrating Injuries from “Less Lethal” Beanbag Munitions. Correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine, by Dr. Kristofor A. Olson et al. August 14 2020. 

Sacramento Street EMS

Sacramento Anti Police-Terror Project


Thank you to the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine for supporting this podcast and to Orlando Magaña at OM Audio Productions for audio production services.

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