Berkeley City Council Greenlights Police Department's Use of Pepper Spray to Control Violent Protesters

NBC Bay Area | 4/15/2017 | Staff
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With Berkeley having become a political battleground for the far-left and far-right, its City Council on Tuesday approved the police chief's request to lift a 20-year-old ban on the department's use of pepper spray.

The City Council called for a special meeting at 3 p.m. and voted 6-3 in favor of Chief Andrew Greenwood’s proposal.

Berkeley - Mayor - Jesse - Arreguin - Rule

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said the new rule will allow police officers to use pepper spray on violent people in a crowd — not for crowd control.

Until Tuesday, officers had been prohibited from using pepper spray as a way to control crowds, Greenwood wrote in a memo to the City Council. However, it can be a mode of “effective intervention in violent crowd control situations involving direct coordinated attacks on police lines,” he continued.

Greenwood - Berkeley - Police - Department - Commitment

Greenwood stressed the Berkeley Police Department’s commitment to upholding people’s First Amendment rights – no matter where on the political spectrum they may fall.

In 2017, however, “Berkeley has been the focus of an unprecedented effort to be made a battleground for extremist groups,” Greenwood wrote.

City - Spike - Violence - Behavior - Clusters

The city has experienced a spike in “violence and criminal behavior” by these clusters of people “who have launched brutal and determined attacks against officers and people whom they have determined should not be allowed to speak or publicly assemble,” he added.

Greenwood listed chaotic and bloody riots that broke out at “March 4 Trump” and “Patriot’s Day” rallies. In both cases, hundreds of protesters descended on Berkeley, fights broke out, some people were injured and others were arrested, and property was destroyed. On Aug. 28 again, more than 100 black-clad Antifa members pushed their way past police barricades, and attacked right-wing protesters.

Case - Greenwood - Tuesday - Arsenal - Weapons

To make his case, Greenwood on Tuesday displayed an arsenal of weapons that were wielded at the numerous protests. He also brought along photographs, one of which showed officers...
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