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Governor Brown Asks For Review of Pepper Spray Guidelines

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In his letter to The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, Governor Brown asked the executive director to review and, if need be, change its 2003 Crowd Management and Civil Disobedience Guidelines to "ensure protections against excessive force."

The governor wrote, "I am seriously concerned that the rules governing the use of force, in particular the use of pepper spray, are not well understood in the context of civil disobedience…"

But, while the 14 guidelines do identify options that officers have when they encounter a demonstration, the options are not in any particular order.  The guidelines do say a law enforcement agency should have 28 deployment and policy regulations regarding the use of non-lethal chemical agents, but again, the guidelines do not lay out a specific plan for an officer to follow. 

Karen Lozito is with the Commission and tells Capital Public Radio each agency that refers to the guidelines should use the information "depending on the situation, the agency, the jurisdiction and existing law" but they are not intended to be a set of rules. 

To read the rules for yourself, click here.

The commission is expected to respond to the Governor's letter by Wednesday.

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