Man blinded by projectile at 2020 Plaza protest discusses lawsuit against city | News

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Sean Stearns stated he was with his sweetheart on May 30th, the 3rd day of the demonstrations by the Plaza water fountain triggered by the cops killing of George Floyd.

It was in between 11:30 p.m. and midnight , he stated, when something struck him in the eye. He didn’t understand how bad it was at the time. A suit now declares it was a so called “less lethal” round fired by police that struck him.

“We were kind of at a distance from the line where protestors and police were,” stated Stearns.

He stated smoke was currently filling the air when he and his sweetheart ran with others. He stated she got kneed by somebody else running and fell hard. She appeared concussed so he sat her down.

“I assumed that we were in a safe place, so I was crouched, talking to her. She was safe behind a tree,” he explained.

Not Long After, he was struck in the eye. Consisted of in the suit is a picture of his face, his left eye inflamed shut. The suit suggests his injuries consisted of bone fractures in his eye location and “permanent and complete loss of sight in his left eye.”

Stearns stated he attempts not to re-live or speak about that night.

“But I get reminded every day just looking in the mirror,” he continued.

Court files likewise consist of a picture of what Sean’s attorneys think struck him: “a ‘scat pack’ (a.k.a. Multi-Smoke Projectiles) containing 3 separate projectiles which break apart and travel excessive distances at high velocities.”

Sterns’ legal representative, James Thompson, disagrees with such tools being described as “less lethal” weapons.

“The whole idea of less lethal or less than lethal, those are to a certain extent oxymorons,” stated Thompson. “These weapons kill people and obviously, as you see, they blind people.”

Throughout the course of the a number of days of demonstrations, cops reported being struck with frozen water bottles and pieces of concrete, with one officer getting a lacerated liver. However Sterns keeps in mind lots of people were just kneeling far from the cops line.

The lawsuit alleges it was a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who fired the round in question. Thompson said the suit is directed at Kansas City because the state troopers were working under mutual aid agreement with the KCPD.

“I don’t think there was sufficient guidance. There wasn’t sufficient directive and coordination with respect to use of force,” posited Thompson.

The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for Sterns but it’s also asking a judge to order specific policies be enacted and trained on.

Below are just a few:

  • Prohibit “shooting projectiles indiscriminately into crowds of people exercising their rights of free speech…”
  • Require “badges and badge numbers [be] prominently displayed…”
  • Require that officers with the KCPD “(and those under its control) only give orders to disperse when there is imminent danger of harm to persons (not property)”
  • Require “adequate time” and room to disperse.

Sterns said he’s conflicted about suing but felt like he had to address what he sees as a bigger picture problem.

“It’s the disproportionate response essentially,” he replied when asked what his biggest concern is. “There has to be a better way.”

The suit names the City of Kansas City Missouri, the Board of Police Commissioners, the cops chief and the cannon fodder.

Stearns’ lawyer acknowledged the KCPD has made changes to its use of force policy since the protests however states they haven’t gone far enough.

KCTV5 called an agent with the KCPD for their action. We were informed they don’t talk about pending suits. is now with you on the go! Get the current news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather report, weather condition radar, unique investigative reports, sports headings and a lot more from KCTV5 News. 

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long added to this report.