Berkeley loosens rules on police pepper-spraying protesters

Berkeley loosens rules on police pepper-spraying protesters”

20 arrested in Berkeley Trump protest clash Berkeley's police chief wants to add the use of pepper spray to officers tool kits as they face what they call armed groups using clubs, shields, and projectiles.

Police Chief Andrew Greenwood sought the permission at an emergency council meeting.

Under the amended policy, police are still prohibited from using pepper spray to control or disperse crowds and can not spray those engaged in unlawful but nonviolent resistance, such as lying down to block a street or doorway.

Police are barred from using pepper spray to move crowds.

The council voted 6-3 on Tuesday to let officers deploy a large pepper spray canister if they believe a demonstrator is acting violent or appears to be threatening to attack police or other protesters. Last month, Berkeley police confiscated weapons and banned masks, which according to the city, diminished violence.

The city banned pepper spray in 1997 as a crowd-control weapon.

The chief's memo cited four recent events - on February 1, March 4, April 15 and August 27 - when large, coordinated groups of masked attackers went on rampages as police futilely waved batons and shot projectiles, smoke bombs and tear gas. VIDEO: Berkeley student union vandalized during protestThe spring clashes between Trump supporters and opponents also turned violent and nasty.

Demonstrations are expected Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley when conservative political commentator and former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro is scheduled for a speech.

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