Black activist who trains police on implicit bias shot in groin by cops during protest
A 27-year-old black community activist had to undergo emergency surgery after being shot in the groin with a rubber bullet while he was trying to stop cops from firing at protesters in California, United States.
Derrick Sanderlin, who has known the San Jose police chief for three years, said he tried to de-escalate tense confrontations between police and protesters near the city hall, as per ABC7/KABC-TV on June 6.
After seeing police shoot at protesters at close range, which included young women, Sanderlin decided to stand in front of the police, holding his arms sidewards and urged officers to stop.
“I really just couldn’t watch it anymore. And I just kinda made like a parallel walk over, put my hands up and just stood in the line of the fire and asked them to please not do this,” he said in the television interview.
The incident was caught on camera by the news outlet, which showed Sanderlin peacefully standing several feet away from the cops while holding a sign that said “WE R WORTHY OF LIFE.”
The activist made no aggressive behavior, the report noted, but was still shot several times by police. A round eventually hit Sanderlin in the groin, rupturing his testicle.
“I paused for a moment, like, maybe this isn’t, maybe this doesn’t hurt and falling afterwards is like the most painful experience,” he said.
Sanderlin and his wife Cayla, who he have been married for four years, are now unsure of the possibility of having children following the injury.
“The doctor had let me know before the operation that there’s no way of fully telling until you try to have kids,” Sanderlin was quoted as saying.
Cayla meanwhile said that she “started weeping at the thought of that,” noting that they do want kids and that they were close to having some before the incident.
Sanderlin has since retained lawyer Sarah Marinho, who stressed the police were “aiming for a body part that was prohibited when using those type of riot guns,” according to the report.
“You’re not meant to aim at the groin or the head ever,” she said in an interview.
An officer named Jared Yuen, who has since been placed on desk duty, is now facing internal investigations over his aggressive behavior.
After the news outlet reported the incident to San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia, the chief assured Sanderlin that they will be investigating the incident.
San Jose police will also be re-evaluating at what point in a confrontation can cops fire their riot guns, according to the report.
“Derrick has been a real leader in our communities’ efforts to reduce bias and discrimination through dialogue,” Garcia was quoted as saying.
Sanderlin has been training new police recruits in San Jose about implicit bias and procedural bias, the report said. He and Cayla have also been working for charities aiming to help people who are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protests continue to erupt across the U.S. in response to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in the hands of the police in Minneapolis. Ian Biong/JB
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