Judge grants temporary restraining order against SPD for use of tear gas, projectiles
Seattle Federal District Judge Richard Jones has granted a temporary restraining order against the Seattle Police Department for the use of tear gas and blast balls against protesters.
This decision comes from a lawsuit filed by ACLU Tuesday, alleging Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan violated the constitutional rights of protesters by allowing officers to disperse crowds with tear gas, flash bangs, and more.
Black Lives Matter Seattle King County issued the following statement on Friday:
As tens of thousands of people were gathering today to march silently and in solidarity against police brutality and misconduct, the U.S. District Court affirmed their right to protest, free from state violence. That is a victory for today. Black Lives Matter demands a justice system that works for us every day. A legal system grounded in racism can never deliver equal treatment. We take this victory and we keep fighting, we keep marching, we keep assembling to demand the seismic changes that are necessary to rid our justice system of institutional racism.
The ACLU’s lawsuit — filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and other individual plaintiffs — alleged that police have frequently violated the First Amendment rights of protesters through the use of “less lethal weapons to control and suppress demonstrations.”
Mayor Durkan previously issued a 30-day pause on the use of tear gas, but police re-authorized its use last weekend to disperse crowds gathered on Capitol Hill.
The restraining order reads: “The City of Seattle, including the Seattle Police Department and any other officers, departments, agencies, or organizations under the Seattle Police Department’s control … is hereby enjoined from employing chemical irritants or projectiles of any kind against persons peacefully engaging in protests or demonstrations.”
The injunction include CS gas (or tear gas), OC spray (pepper spray), and any projectile, including flash-bang grenades, “pepper balls,” “blast balls,” rubber bullets, or foam-tip projectiles. Officers can still take actions against a threat of harm to them or others or to property.
The SPD tweeted that they will comply with the order, which will be in effect for 14 days.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.