Injury patterns related to use of less-lethal weapons during a period of civil unrest

J Emerg Med. 2003 Aug;25(2):219-27. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(03)00179-3.


This case series documents injury patterns related to beanbag and other less-lethal (LL) weapons during a period of civil unrest in a major U.S. city. A retrospective review of injuries related to LL weapons usage presenting to an urban Emergency Department (ED) from April 10, 2001 to April 18, 2001 was performed. Patients under 18 years of age and those without signed consent to treat were excluded. Twenty-seven patients were identified. Two were excluded due to lack of signed consent for treatment. Mean age was 28.4 +/- 11.7 years; 76% of patients were male. Significant morbidity was found in 7 (28%) cases with no fatalities. Three (12%) individuals, with the diagnoses of pulmonary contusion, liver laceration, and Achilles tendon rupture, required admission. Two (8%) individuals had delayed complications of pneumonia and post-concussive syndrome. Reports of injury patterns associated with beanbag munitions in the medical literature are limited. Physicians should be aware of the injuries and delayed sequelae associated with their use.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Civil Disorders*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*