Use of tear gas, other riot-control weapons outlined in report

Salem, Oregon –

More than 119,000 people have been injured by tear gas and other chemical irritants worldwide since 2015, and about 2,000 by “low-lethal” impact projectiles, according to a report released Wednesday.

The research, conducted by the Physicians for Human Rights and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations in partnership with the Omega Research Foundation, took two and a half provides Unusual Partial Casualty CountA compilation of medical literature from these devices used by law enforcement around the world, including Colombia, Chile, Hong Kong, Turquie, and Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

The majority of the data comes from cases where a person came to the emergency room with a crowd control weapon injury and the attending physician or hospital staff made an effort to document it, said the report’s first author, the emergency room Rohini Haar said. Physician and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

Casualty reports from a largely unregulated industry cites a startling evolution of crowd control devices to more powerful and indiscriminate designs and deployments, including tear gas drops from drones.

It is a ban on rubber bullets and multiple launchers in all crowd control settings and against weapons that may be used indiscriminately, such as tear gas, sonic weapons and water cannons, possibly loaded with dye. We want strict limits. and chemical irritants.

Oregon Democrat Senator Ron Wyden said the report highlights a serious problem.

“These troubling global figures are a reminder that when Donald Trump first sent troops to Portland in 2020 without any guidance on the use of chemical weapons near schools, my local It reflects the concerns raised: “The report’s recommendations merit consideration by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Portland, Oregon, was the epicenter of racial justice protests after the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Police and protesters clashed, with police firing tear gas, pepper spray and other devices, turning parts of the city into battlefields. .

Then-President Trump sent militarized federal agents to protect federal property, and the violence continued, including police beating protesters with batons and throwing tear gas and other irritants into the crowd. Bystanders and nearby residents were choking on smoke, crying and burning.

Portland Police Department spokesperson Terry Warro-Strauss said the agency’s latest policy emphasizes “the goal of avoiding the use of force when possible.”

Police say crowd control devices are effective tools for dispersing mobs when used properly.

“Meetings basically get out of control when they are hijacked by individuals who come with nefarious intent to cause riots, looting, etc. It’s best to create a safe resolution and try to restore order,” Park City, Utah police chief Wade Carpenter said at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. told to

Carpenter is also an employee of the International Association of Police Chiefs, which has over 32,000 members in over 170 countries. The group declined to comment on the new report. However, in 2019, it recommended guidelines on crowd management.

Pepper spray, or oleoresin pepper, may be used against “certain individuals engaged in illegal activity or actively resisting arrest, or required in defense capacity as appropriate.” “OC sprays must not be used indiscriminately against groups of people who bystanders are unduly affected or against individuals who passively resist.”

However, the Internet is replete with examples of pepper spray being used against people who do not resist, including Tyre Nichols, who was beaten to death by Memphis police in January.

Tear gas “may be deployed defensively to prevent injury when lesser force options are not available or likely to be ineffective,” IACP guidance said. A projectile that is supposed to hit a surface such as a street before impacting is “where lives are in imminent danger or the need to use the device outweighs the potential risk.” may be used.”

Direct-fire impact munitions, including beanbag munitions, “could be used during civil war against certain individuals engaged in actions that pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury,” the guidance said. Protesters were blinded and brain-damaged by beanbags.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed over the use of force by police during the protests.

In November, the city of Portland reached a $250,000 settlement with five demonstrators in a federal lawsuit over police use of tear gas and other crowd control devices during racial justice protests. bottom.

But last month, a federal judge ruled that an unnamed federal agent fired a concussion bullet in the forehead and fractured the skull of protester Donavan La Vella, who was holding up a music speaker during a racial justice demonstration in Portland. 2020. La Bella continues to battle a severe head injury.

Haar, a medical adviser to Physicians for Human Rights, said the number of injured was far higher than she compiled from medical reports.

“Basically, we knew we were getting the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “This is just a small part of what the world experiences on a daily basis. Most injuries, even the most serious, go unreported.”


Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister, who lives in New York, contributed to this report.

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