Richmond Council Could Still Ban Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets
An attempt to ban the use of tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets in Virginia’s capital city seems to have stalled out, but the effort could be revived.
According to use of force reports, Richmond police used tear gas and rubber bullets dozens of times this summer during the height of civil unrest.
Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray opposes a ban on the use of such weapons. Speaking against it during a recent meeting of the public safety committee she said she worries limiting police use of so called “non-lethal” weapons could lead to more violence.
“And you immediately get to lethal force if there’s nothing (else) on the table,” Gray said.
But Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch, who supports a ban, says it’s use of force by the police that’s most likely to turn a protest violent. And she points out that the resolution recently turned down by a City Council subcommittee isn’t binding, it requests the police department develop and implement a ban.
“It baffles me that this is a controversial resolution,” Lynch said. “These weapons have caused permanent damage and injury.”
Lynch says it’s an important statement to make and she’s hopeful a ban could still be implemented. If a majority, five of the nice City Council members, vote to overturn the committee recommendation the resolution could still pass.