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Oakland police chief apologizes for use of tear gas on young protesters, disciplines officers

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Oakland, Calif., Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong on Thursday issued his first apology over the events that unfolded at a protest over the death of George Floyd last year in which several young protesters were tear-gassed.

“We failed on June 1,” Armstrong told KTVU. “We deployed tear gas outside policy. I apologize to the young people that you had to experience what you experienced. This department is holding itself accountable.” 

Armstrong did not specifically name anyone from his department, but mentioned that various members of his staff were facing penalties ranging from written reprimands to suspensions. None have been fired as of yet, according to KTVU.

More than 33 citations were issued over the use of tear gas in a non-life threatening situation, he said.

“I apologize to the community,” Armstrong said, after acknowledging that Molotov cocktails were not thrown at police headquarters as previously claimed. He also added that seniors and young activists were among those who were tear-gassed, which was not publicly admitted before.

Addressing the amount of time that passed before he issued an apology, Armstrong said it was important to get all the facts straight first.

“It’s not about the time it takes,” he told KTVU. “It’s about getting it right.”

Oakland police did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for further comment.

Tags Black Lives Matter George Floyd protests LeRonne Armstrong Oakland Police Department Portland tear gas

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