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Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A U.S. Park Police spokesperson told Vox it was a "mistake" to say in a Tuesday statement that tear gas was not used the day prior to clear protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of President Trump's photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church.

The big picture: Sgt. Eduardo Delgado described the mistake as a difference in semantics. The department — as it claimed in its statement — only used "smoke canisters and pepper balls," which, he conceded, can cause tears and irritate eyes.

  • Delgado maintained that the U.S. Park Police statement denying the use of tear gas was accurate, noting they did not use tear gas. But he acknowledged that saying the substance was not used could appear to be misleading.
  • "I think the term 'tear gas' doesn't even matter anymore. It was a mistake on our part for using 'tear gas' because we just assumed people would think CS or CN," Delgado said, referring to two common forms of tear gas.
  • "It was kind of a fault on our part just not saying in the first place 'we did not use CN or CS, we used smoke and pepper balls,' and that would've made it a moot point," Delgado said.

Be smart: The term "tear gas" used to broadly mean a synthetic chemical irritant, Vox notes.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Poll: A majority of Pennsylvanians oppose fracking

Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Fifty-two percent oppose fracking in a CBS News poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania, while 48% favor the oil-and-gas extraction method, a finding within the poll's margin of error.

The big picture: Pennsylvania is a key swing state where natural gas development is a major industry, and President Trump's campaign has sought to turn Joe Biden's energy plans into a political liability.

The limits of "Buy American"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joe Biden and Donald Trump agree on at least one thing: Buy American. The slogan was a centerpiece of Biden's recent address to Congress, backed up with one of his first executive orders.

Why it matters: Federal law has placed a heavy thumb on the scales when it comes to hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. government spending. But it's far from clear that it will have its desired effect.

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.