DALLAS - Dallas police said Wednesday officers would no longer use tear gas to control crowd movements of peaceful protesters.
The change in policy for the use of non-lethal tools comes in the wake of intense criticism of the department’s actions against people protesting after the death of George Floyd.
In addition to the switch on tear gas, DPD said it would no longer use pepper balls or “foam kinetic impact projectiles” on peaceful protesters.
A Dallas police internal review of the department’s tactics obtained by Central Track shows officials admit tear gas was used on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on the night of June 1. That’s notable because officials publicly denied tear gas was deployed by officers.
Hundreds of protesters were detained that night but no charges were filed. Protesters say they were guided by officers onto the bridge and then trapped and gassed.
The chief did release a list of scenarios when those non-lethal tools could be used and the process involved.
The chief said tear gas could be used if protesters became involved in burglary, vandalism, or violence against people, property or officers. Tear gas would have to be used with the approval of Hall or someone she designates.
“SWAT must continue to have reasonable and necessary tools in its continuum of force options, but there will now be limits on their appropriate use. They can be used to control violence but not peaceful demonstrations,” Hall said in a statement.
In June, a federal judge told the department to stop using certain control tactics to deal with protesters.
Lawsuits have been filed by protesters who said they were injured by the non-lethal tactics.