Seattle bans tear gas for 30 days amid George Floyd protests

Seattle will ban tear gas for 30 days amid George Floyd protests.

Last Sunday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted:

I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men.

Fox News reports Seattle’s mayor and police chief announced they’ve agreed to ban the use of tear gas to disperse protesters for 30 days amid ongoing demonstrations after the death of George Floyd.

“After hearing concerns about the use of CS gas for crowd control purposes earlier this week … we decided we were going to suspend its use for 30 days,” Police Chief Carmen Best said.

The leaders suspended the gas until watchdog groups and oversight officials can fully review and recommend changes to policies and training for use of the chemical agent. Local health officials expressed concerns over use of tear gas and other respiratory irritants in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ban only applies to tear gas– not flash-bang grenades, pepper spray and other crowd-control techniques– but Seattle’s female African American police chief said that “everything will be reviewed.”

“It’s really important we’re looking at every aspect of force and how we’re utilizing it,” the chief said, according to The Seattle Times. “We’ll review everything we’re utilizing.”

The review is to be conducted by the city’s civilian-led police accountability groups and federal oversight officials, along with input from public health officials and outside experts, Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan said.

“This review should better emphasize de-escalation tactics and incorporate recommendations from our accountability partners on the use of any crowd control techniques, including the use of tear gas and flash-bangs,” Durkan said.

Seattle police turned to tear gas last Saturday as protesting became more aggressive and the department had nearly depleted its supply of pepper spray and blast balls. Best added that other forms of crowd control were not “proving effective at that time.”