Jun 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge limits Denver police use of tear gas and projectile weapons

Protesters march out of Civic Center Park in Denver
Protesters march out of Civic Center Park in Denver on June 4, 2020. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge in Colorado issued a temporary restraining order on Friday night banning the Denver Police Department from using chemical weapons or projectiles against peaceful demonstrators, NPR reports.

Why it matters: The order comes as police across the U.S. are being criticized for their tactics in response to demonstrators as they continue to protest the killing of George Floyd.

What he's saying: Judge R. Brooke Jackson called some of DPD's behavior against demonstrators to be "disgusting." The ruling follows a lawsuit filed by a group of protesters against the police department alleging officers violated their First Amendment rights, per NPR.

  • "I seek to balance citizens' constitutional rights against officers' ability to do their job," Jackson wrote. "However, the time is past to rely solely on the good faith and discretion of the Denver Police Department and its colleagues from other jurisdictions."

Yes, but: Jackson said that officers do need to be able to protect themselves against violent demonstrators and he provided guidelines for when law enforcement can use non-lethal weapons against protesters.

The state of play: In Denver, the City Council has already called for an investigation into the police department's use of force during the Floyd protests, which resulted in both injured demonstrators and journalists, The Denver Post reports.

  • Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen previously said the department will investigate the allegations as well, per the Post.

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