Public Comment

There Should Be a Moratorium on the Use of Pepper Spray

By Carol Denney
Wednesday November 23, 2011 - 11:18:00 AM

If all the University of California chancellors resigned simultaneously, that would still leave pepper (OC) spray, carotid holds, hog-tying, and blunt-end baton strikes available for the next bored police officer who loses patience with student protests. 

If 75,000 petitioners have called for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi, then surely 75,000 would sign a petition for a moratorium on the use of pepper spray on non-violent student protesters, a more effective course. 

Special Agent Thomas W. W. Ward, the head of the FBI's Less-Than-Lethal Weapons Program at the time of the 1991 study authorizing pepper spray's FBI use was fired for taking bribes from a peppergas manufacturer. Even the compromised 1991 study concluded that pepper spray can cause "[m]utagenic effects, carcinogenic effects, sensitization, cardiovascular and pulmonary toxicity, neurotoxicity, as well as possible human fatalities. There is a risk in using this product on a large and varied population". 

Apologies and resignations are not the point. The point would seem to be to get toxic materials out of the hands of those who would use them for sport.