Police tactics in Ferguson are again under the spotlight after a pregnant woman lost her left eye when an officer shot a bean bag round at the window of the car in which she was sitting, blasting shards of glass into her face.
A photograph of Dornella Conners lying on a hospital bed, her left eye covered in a patch, her right eye closed and her face covered in scabs has been circulating on the internet. She was blinded in that eye early on Tuesday morning, just hours after the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to charge Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
In the melee that followed, with looting and violence spreading across the city, Conners and her boyfriend De’Angelas Lee were caught up in a volatile situation at a gas station in Halls Ferry. In an interview with the local TV channel, KMOV, she said that they had been trying to get out of the area but officers from St Louis county police had blocked in their car from the back and sides.
“I weren’t looting or anything. I was just out with my boyfriend. We were just riding around respecting Mike Brown,” she told KMOV.
Her father, Donnell Conners, told the channel: “I’m very upset, very disappointed with tactics that they used trying to get control of the situation. I understand [they have a] tough job, I understand that it was chaos, but there was no reason to fire upon an innocent person sitting in a vehicle. How can a pregnant person in a car be causing chaos?”