BERKELEY, Calif. — Berkeley police can use pepper spray to subdue violent demonstrators after the City Council modified a 20-year ban on officers’ ability to use the weapon.
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.
The City Council in 1997 banned the use of pepper spray for crowd control.
Berkeley police do carry small canister of pepper spray for use on individual suspects. But the police chief said officers need permission to use the bigger canisters if necessary during expected demonstrations Thursday and later this month.
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