Oakland Restricted on Using Crowd-Control Weapons at Protests

Police in Oakland, California, were blocked by a judge from launching stinger grenades, rubber bullets and pepper balls at protesters demonstrating on city’s streets.

In a preliminary injunction issued Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero also set limits on when officers can use tear gas, flash grenades and foam-tipped projectiles.

“None of these devices shall be deployed on peaceful protestors or indiscriminately into a crowd,” Spero wrote. “They may only be targeted at the specific imminent threat justifying the deployment.”

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Spero’s order came in response to request from the Anti Police-Terror Project, a non-profit watchdog group that accused police of using excessive force against Black Lives Matters protesters in Oakland.

The order also requires officers to wear body cameras and face masks and to wear bags or nameplates with their name or identification number.

Spero said local officers can’t use tear gas or flash grenades unless there is “an imminent threat of physical harm to a person or significant destruction of property” and when other crowd-control techniques, “such as simultaneous arrest or police formations,” have failed to mitigate the risk.

The order doesn’t apply to federal officers, like the ones the Trump administration sent to Portland, Oregon. Federal officers so far haven’t been a big presence in Oakland.

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