Press Release: Berkeley Council Considers Use of Pepper Spray Against Violent Agitators

from Stefan Elgstrand, asst. to the Mayor
Tuesday September 12, 2017 - 01:56:00 PM

(Berkeley, CA) –Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin will be introducing an amendment to an item regarding the use of pepper spray by the Berkeley Police Department as such use relates to crowd control, and expression of First Amendment speech. This amendment comes in a response to address community concerns over the potential misuse of pepper spray, and in consultation of the Police Chief and the City Attorney.

Mayor Arreguin supports the Berkeley Police Department’s request to use pepper spray as a tool to deter violence against police and other individuals, and also supports continuing City policy of not using it as a form of crowd control. 

Full language of the motion: 

Oleoresin Capsicum (pepper spray) shall not be used as a crowd control technique to disperse a crowd or move a crowd. 

Pepper spray shall not be used on persons engaged in legal speech or other expression that is protected by the First Amendment, nor upon those committing unlawful acts by non-violent or passive resistance means, (e.g. sitting or lying down to block a street or doorway). 

Police may use pepper spray upon specific individuals within a crowd who are committing acts of violence upon police or others. 

The Berkeley City Council will vote on the proposal today (Tuesday, September 12) at 3pm at Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr Way.