State Watch

Seattle mayor temporarily bans use of tear gas

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) announced that police in the city are banned from using tear gas for the next 30 days.

The chemical has been employed over the last week amid widespread protests against police brutality and racism after George Floyd’s death during a Minneapolis police arrest. 

Durkan made the announcement at a press conference that comes as reports suggest tear gas is more dangerous than previously thought and could seriously damage the lungs. The findings could make the agent all the more threatening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Seattle Times, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said the ban will not apply to pepper spray, flash-bangs or other tools. Best said police tactics “will be reviewed.”

There have reportedly been numerous complaints to the city about the use of tear gas in protests.

The use of tear gas against protesters has drawn broad criticism after videos showed law enforcement officers appearing to use the chemical agent and similar tools against peaceful protesters.

On Monday, U.S. Park Police used pepper balls — which produce a similar effect to tear gas — to forcibly remove protesters outside the White House ahead of President Trump walking down the street to visit a historic church.

Initial reports said it was tear gas, but the White House has pushed back on those claims. On Friday, U.S. Park Police hedged its earlier claims that it did not use tear gas to clear crowds but noted the chemical agents they used cause similar eye and lung irritation.

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