In settlement of a lawsuit brought by Ferguson, Mo. protesters, three police agencies will restrict use of tear gas and other chemical weapons on crowds, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
As part of the settlement announced today, officers have to use “clear and unambiguous warnings” before deploying tear gas, a noxious agent that causes burning sensations, wheezing, crying and coughing in eyes, nose and throat. Police also agreed not to use tear gas against lawful protesters.
The Post-Dispatch reports:
Lawyers for St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson signed off on settlement terms.
Police agreed not to use gas to frighten or punish people lawfully exercising their constitutional rights.
Tear gas, is in fact, banned for use in war, but can be used domestically during protests, reports the Washington Post:
Despite its ubiquity across the globe and in United States, tear gas is a chemical agent banned in warfare per the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which set forth agreements signed by nearly every nation in the world — including the United States. The catch, however, is that while it’s illegal in war, it’s legal in domestic riot control.
Police argued that their tactics were necessary to prevent looting and keeping the peace (and safety) during protests that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man who was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
The plaintiffs in the suit are Alexis Templeton, Maureen Costello, Brittany Ferrell, Steve Hoffman, Nile McClain and Kira Hudson. As part of the settlement, they have agreed to dismiss their claim.
The settlement mandates that police will order their officers to comply, and incorporate its terms into their formal policies by Aug. 15, reports the Dispatch.
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