A federal judge in the district of Denver in the US state of Colorado has temporarily banned Denver Police Department officers and those from other jurisdictions, who assist them, from using chemical weapons and non-lethal projectiles against peaceful protesters, a district court ruling said.
"Plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order, ECF No. 10, is GRANTED in PART. The Court temporarily enjoins the City and County of Denver, and specifically the Denver Police Department and officers from other jurisdictions who are assisting Denver Police Officers, from employing chemical weapons or projectiles of any kind against persons engaging in peaceful protests or demonstrations," the court said in a ruling released by the local Yellow Scene magazine late on Friday.
At the same time, the court clarified when police can use the non-lethal weapons against protesters, as the officers need to protect themselves. In particular, according to the ruling, chemical agents or irritants, including pepper spray and tear gas, may only be used after the relevant order is issued "in response to specific acts of violence or destruction of property that the command officer has personally witnessed."
Meanwhile, the Denver Police Department said that it would seek modifications to the order "that would account for limitations on staffing and body-worn cameras so the directions can be operationalized," according to the department's Twitter.
Demonstrations in support of the black community and protests opposing police violence against African American people have been underway in various US cities since late May in response to the killing of an African American man, George Floyd, in police custody. In some areas, the protests have turned violent.