Should police be banned from using tear gas? | The Tylt
Clouds of tear gas shot by police at protesters has become a common feature of protests across the United States. While the military is banned from using it on the battlefield, law enforcement essentially have little oversight in terms of how and when they are able to use it domestically.
Police have repeatedly abused the wide latitude they have been given to deploy their chemical weapons. In one horrific incident, Philadelphia police trapped protesters into an area without exits, then repeatedly shot canisters of tear gas into the crowd. In far too many other incididents, law enforcement fired tear gas cannisters directly at people's heads, seriously injuring and maiming them. These weapons have been banned from war, they should also be banned from being used against American citizens. Is it okay that we treat our foreign enemies better than our own people?
Police argue they need their full arsenal of less-lethal weapons, including tear gas, because otherwise they would have to resort to lethal force. There are only so many tools and options police can use to escalate and disperse crowds. They argue that if they are not able to use less-lethal weapons, they will have to use their guns. In an especially direct example, the Berkeley police chief said "we can shoot people" when a councilmember asked the police chief about their options if they did not have tear gas.
Should police be banned from using tear gas?