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Berkeley Police Allowed to Use Pepper Spray on Violent Protesters in New Ruling

Berkeley Police Allowed to Use Pepper Spray on Violent Protesters in New Ruling
From Rolling Stone - September 13, 2017

Members of the Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday in favor of allowing police officers to use pepper spray on violent demonstrators, overturning a 20-year ban on its use during protests.

Police Chief Andrew Greenwood requested the ban reversal with a 26-page memo to the City Council, citing four incidents that took place in recent months, during which large, coordinated groups of masked "black bloc" antifa protesters assaulted police officers and "people who were engaging in free speech activities," according to his memo.

During Tuesday's emergency council meeting, Greenwood noted that using pepper spray is preferable to using batons and tear gas, which the city allows the police force to use, but which disburses far wider than pepper spray.

"It is a request made of urgency," he said, according to The Associated Press. On Thursday, conservative political commentator and former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro is scheduled to appear on campus; later this month, a conservative group plans to bring former White House advisor Steve Bannon to the university, along with former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

Yiannopoulos' appearance on campus in February was ultimately canceled due to safety reasons after 1,500 people showed up to protest his scheduled speaking engagement at the university's new Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union Center.

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