Good news for cops and residents, but bad news for protesters looking to be anything but peaceful. A federal judge has now blocked a previous city council vote that banned the use of non-lethal weapons for Seattle cops, who were using things like tear gas to disperse crowds amid protests that got too wild.
The previous vote, held by Seattle’s city council, voted “unanimously today to ban the Seattle Police Department from owning or using so-called “less lethal” weapons such as blast balls, tear gas, and pepper spray for any purpose, and, in separate legislation, to ban the use of “chokeholds,” a term that includes various methods of restraining a person by cutting off their air supply or blood flow to their brain.” (South Seattle Emerald)
That didn’t last long amid the 50+ days of protests our country as seen.
It was District Judge James Robart who provided a temporary restraining order that permits police officers to continue using those methods of crowd control.
“The Department of Justice argued the ban could lead rioters to cause even more violence, which would escalate officer’s use force in the process.
According to Judge Roberts, the law was not discussed between the city and Justice Department sufficiently. Seattle’s police chief voiced similar concerns over the legislation and claimed the move would create more violent situations.
“The council legislation gives officers no ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large violent crowd,” said Chief Carmen Best. “Allowing this behavior deeply troubles me, it deeply troubles me.” (OAN)
This is a good ruling because police officers should have non-lethal tools to protect themselves and others when a crowd gets out of control. If protesters know the police are basically unarmed, then that could spark an increase in violent actions.