A protester shared her experience on TikTok after being shot in the face with a rubber bullet
- Zeelee Segura attended a peaceful protest in San Diego, California, where she marched and chanted along with other protesters — until police began teargassing participants and shot her in the face with a rubber bullet.
- The 21-year-old posted a TikTok about her experience which has since gone viral and sparked further online discussion about racism and police brutality.
- In four days, the video has been viewed nearly 4 million times.
Zeelee Segura, a 21-year-old college graduate working in the music industry, attended a peaceful protest on Saturday at the La Mesa Police Department in San Diego County (one of many protests popping up around the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in police custody). Now, she’s gone viral on TikTok after sharing her experience protesting — and getting shot in the face with a rubber bullet.
Segura and her friend, Zoe, attended the protest together in an attempt to take their activism to the next level, particularly in an area like San Diego, which Segura says is plagued by racism and privilege.
“I think we all do a lot of posting and pretending to be active. And I just don’t want to pretend anymore,” she told Insider. ” Things need to change and I want to be a part of it. And I am black, so this is something that’s very personal to me.”
The protest, Segura recalled, was peaceful. People were holding signs, marching, and chanting – and some even tried to engage police officers in conversation. After hours of peaceful protest, however, police began tear-gassing the crowds and firing rubber bullets — one of which hit Segura right in the lip.
“It’s weird, you only have a few seconds to react,” she said of the shooting. “I turned around to make sure Zoe was still with me and I got hit. Like, I turned around and looked up and saw an officer up on the roof, and we kind of made eye contact, and then he shot.”
The pain was immediate and Segura’s lip swelled, but she said she was ultimately grateful that she had been hit instead of a pregnant woman who was standing nearby.
Segura decided to share her experience — and reveal her injury — on TikTok in hopes of advancing the conversation about racism and police brutality.
“So today I went to a peaceful protest — keyword, peaceful — we were all just standing, chanting holding our signs,” she said in the clip, “and the police were the only ones to get violent. They tear-gassed us, and as we were all running away, I looked a cop in the eye and he shot me in the face.”
“Honestly, I don’t f—— get it. We come out here to protest for our rights, which we shouldn’t have to do,” she continued. “The police are the only ones to get violent.”
Segura concluded by urged viewers to “start paying attention” and take part in a larger effort to “fight this system.”
In four days, Segura’s video has been viewed nearly 4 million times — and the post has racked up comments from followers expressing outrage and solidarity.
“Makes me sick, but you’re so brave and strong,” one commenter wrote.
“They never shot at people yelling in their faces about a haircut and going back to work when corona started. They didn’t even bring out their batons,” another said.
The ability to reach a wide audience and start a conversation was one of the reasons why Segura chose to post her video on the platform.
“You can spread information really fast on TikTok with its algorithm,” she said. “If I post something, so many people can see it without the need for someone to repost it or reshare it. And I really wanted people to see what was happening and it’s a very quick platform to educate people on.”
Since going viral, Segura is continuing to address issues of race and police brutality on social media, posting on both TikTok and Instagram about her experience.
In a follow-up TikTok video, she educated her new followers about the severity of retaliation against protesters and covered the potential damage caused by rubber bullets.
“These are the kind of things we need to be paying attention to,” she says in the clip.