Sean suffered a rubber bullet to his eye while participating in a peaceful protest for social justice at the Kansas City Plaza Saturday night. He has permanently lost vision in his left eye.
Please help support him. Money raised will be used for medical bills and legal fees.
Below is a Facebook post from Sydney Ragsdale and Sean Stearns
Been struggling to find the right words to post about this.
On Saturday night, Sean and I went to the protest at the Plaza. We saw so much beauty and togetherness among our fellow protesters all day and night and we are so grateful for that. We also saw a lot of fear and a lot of violence, almost entirely on the side of the police.
After the police tear-gassed the crowd without warning, someone ran into me and knocked me over. I hit my head hard on the ground and lost consciousness for a brief moment. Sean came to my rescue. He picked me up and pull me into the park, a place where police had told us to go, a place where police had led us to believe was safe. Once we were on the grass, I told Sean to stop because I wasn’t feeling alright. He pulled me behind a tree to be extra safe. I sat down and he crouched down in front of me. He told me to look at him. As I was looking at him, all of sudden I saw an object fly from the direction of the militarized police line and strike him in the face. He fell backwards and cried out in pain. He screamed he had been shot in the face. I pulled his hands away and saw blood gushing out of where his left eye should have been. In that instant, I felt like we under attack. And thinking back now, we were under attack. A police officer aimed their rubber-bullet gun at Sean and shot it right at his face while he was in a place they were telling us to go, while he was tending to someone else, me, who was hurt. It was vicious. It was cruel. It was heartless. It was and is incomprehensible to me.
I helped Sean up and told him we had to get out of there. We ran further into the park, crying out for help. In all of this tragedy, I find warmth and light in the response we got to these cries. Several of our fellow protesters rushed to our aid. At least three people—please share this and help us identify them so we can thank them—had Sean lay on his back so they could clean out his wound which was gushing blood. Multiple people also came to my aid, as I was screaming and crying at Sean’s feet. One of them, my new dear friend Toast, held me tight as I cried and screamed. The harder I cried, the tighter Toast held me. Eventually we decided we had to get Sean to the hospital. And that ended up being like trying to cross through a war zone to get there. We were terrified we would be attacked again just for trying to get him to the help he so desperately needed. Thankfully we weren’t. We got to the ER safely and Sean was taken care of my a slew of kind, caring and compassionate medical professionals. He was in surgery all of yesterday morning. They did everything they could but sadly it wasn’t enough to save his left eye. He will never see out of it again, and he might have to have it completely removed in the future. I am heartbroken. I am furious. I am tired.
And then I realize that what happened to Sean is just a taste of what happens to black people and people of color every damn day in this country at the hands of police. And I get even more heartbroken, furious, and tired. I used to think the idea of abolishing the police was extreme, but now I am struggling to see another option that guarantees the safety and protection of us all. The police in this country are trained to escalate conflict at any chance they get. They are trained to embrace racist tactics and beliefs. And they are steeped in a culture of intolerance, racism, and violence. We need a system in place that truly is designed to PROTECT us--not to divide us, not hurt us, not kill us—to PROTECT us. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do---by us, I mean ALL OF US.