SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A local mother of two says she will likely be blind in one eye because of a rubber bullet fired at her during a protest over a week ago.
This comes amidst a public outcry over their use and excessive force by police.
“On May 29th my life was forever changed,” said Nia Love.
Love is a medical assistant and mother of two who says she was a victim of police brutality while protesting against it on a freeway overpass at 12th and 30th.
“I was walking away and when I turned around I got hit,” she said.
She was hit in the left eye by a rubber bullet.
“It does not feel like a rubber bullet. It felt like somebody shot me with a cannon,” she said.
Doctors say she will likely lose her sight. Through her tears, she said, “It was hard. It’s not something you want to hear.”
It’s still unclear which agency fired the rubber bullet, but her attorney Lisa Bloom says Sacramento Police, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers were at the scene.
“In order to get justice for Nia Love, we need witnesses. We need video,” Bloom said.
They are calling for the public’s help and an internal investigation into the department responsible, while legislators call for reform.
“What we found was there is no standard use for these projectiles and the use of those by police,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. She is co-authoring AB 66, which would ensure a standard use of force for rubber bullets, along with assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo.
“What we are seeing now is not the America that we should be creating,” said Carrillo.
After days of social unrest over the death of George Floyd in police custody, government agencies are re-evaluating protocols. The governor demanded an end to the carotid control hold. Sacramento police suspended it and so did Woodland and Davis police departments.
But not everyone agrees.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” said former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness. He says these are tactics meant for use on a violent or combative suspect and are effective when used properly.
“I see them as rungs on the force-continuum ladder, without which, inevitably, police will get to the point where deadly force is the only option,” McGinness said.
He says whether a chokehold or rubber bullets, every case must be evaluated individually.
Standing alongside protesters chanting “Rubber bullets maim,” Nia Love said this isn’t just a moment, but a movement in the fight against social injustice.
“My fight is not over. This happening has made me want to do more,” said Love.
CBS13 reached out to Sacramento police and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for comment. They say they will wait to respond until they know where the bullet originated. CHP did not respond to our request for comment.
Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn did tell CBS13 Monday afternoon that his department does not use rubber bullets. They use sponge bullets instead.