A Republican candidate for sheriff in Arizona on Sunday demonstrated how “skunk water” would be used on protesters during a Sunday event.
Jerry Sheridan, who is running to be Maricopa County sheriff, had about 40 people at his home to show how skunk water could be used for crowd control during protests that turn violent, The Arizona Republic reported.
Skunk water is created to smell as bad as skunk spray but is not the liquid spray itself.
The demonstration consisted of three people spraying skunk water at four volunteers, who wore shower caps and goggles, once Sheridan declared an “unlawful protest.”
"It's like foul, foul garbage that has been sitting in the sun rotting, decaying in a closed tight space and the door has been opened and that smell just comes out,” Kathryn Butler, one of the volunteers, told the newspaper. “It's really overpowering and disgusting.”
The sheriff candidate said the method could be used as an alternative to pepper spray and tear gas to address civil unrest.
If elected, Sheridan said he pictures skunk water being used if local law enforcement requests help from the sheriff’s office for crowd control if an unlawful protest or riot breaks out, according to the Arizona Republic. He added he will protect protesters as long as they stay peaceful.
"But the minute somebody throws a rock or bottle or injures an officer or someone in the crowd causes property damage, then it's no longer peaceful,” he said. "That's when I will declare an unlawful assembly and enforce the law and disperse the crowd. And if they do not disperse in the time allotted, then I will deploy the skunk water and arrest those that remain.”
Sheridan is running against Democratic incumbent Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone in the election.
Penzone told The Hill in a statement that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office does not use skunk water.
"Our tactical resources are those deemed to be safest, most effective and most appropriate to mitigate threats of violence or criminal behavior," he said.
Penzone added that Sheridan's "interest in this product is solely for theatre and political attention.”
Sheridan said his wife brought up the idea after seeing Israeli authorities use skunk water online. Israeli Defense Forces first used skunk water against Palestinian protesters in the West Bank, according to HowStuffWorks.
Skunk water is reportedly “100% eco-friendly - harmless to both nature and people” but the smell can stay on skin and in the area sprayed for days, according to BBC.