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Seattle City Council votes to bar gas, spray

BELLEVUE, WA - MAY 31: Law enforcement officers move toward demonstrators during a gathering to protest the recent death of George Floyd on May 31, 2020 in Bellevue, Washington. Protests due to the recent death of George Floyd took place in Bellevue in addition to Seattle, with looting in Bellevue and at least one burned automobile there. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council has voted unanimously to bar police from using tear gas, pepper spray and several other crowd control devices after officers repeatedly used them on mostly peaceful demonstrators protesting racism and police brutality.

The 9-0 vote Monday came amid frustration with the Seattle Police Department, which used tear gas to disperse protesters in the city’s densest neighborhood, Capitol Hill, just days after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best promised not to.

The council heard repeated complaints from residents forced out of their homes by the gas even though they weren’t protesting; one resident said his wife doused their child’s eyes with breast milk.

A federal judge on Friday issued a temporary order banning Seattle police from using tear gas, pepper spray, foam-tipped projectiles or other force against protesters, finding that the department had used less-lethal weapons “disproportionately and without provocation,” chilling free speech in the process.

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