DENVER (AP) — A federal judge is limiting the police’s use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal weapons against people protesting against police brutality in Denver.
In a temporary restraining order issued Friday night, U.S. District Judge Brooke Jackson said four people who sued the city accusing police of using the weapons to assert dominance and suppress their right to protest had made a strong case the police had used excessive force.
Jackson said police often have a “thankless job” and should be able to defend themselves. However, he said they have failed to police themselves at the protests and said an on scene supervisor with the rank of captain or above must approve the use of any chemical weapons and projectiles.
He also ordered police not to aim the non-lethal weapons at people’s heads and groins, as the plaintiffs alleged had been done, and to use body cameras.
The plaintiffs presented videos of scenes like police firing pepper spray at protesters some of whom were speaking or yelling at police but not acting violently.
Denver police said it would comply with the order, which it said was largely in line with its policy, but would ask for changes given limitations on staffing and body cameras.