DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Civil rights lawyers are applauding a decision by the Dallas Police Department that requires Chief Renee Hall’s approval for tear gas and pepper balls to be used during protests.
Weeks after the downtown protests, there’s still damage to property and there are lasting injuries on some of the people who were marching.
This policy change is welcomed by civil rights advocates, but an affront to some officers who believe the protests on the weekend of May 30 were not peaceful.
Police Chief Renee Hall said in a statement, unless she approves, during future protests “Tear gas will no longer be used to deter or control the movement of peaceful demonstrators. Additionally, pepper ball or foam kinetic impact projectiles will no longer be deployed into crowds.”
The exceptions Chief Hall made to the use of tear gas and pepper balls are burglary, vandalism and violence.
The attorney representing two of the injured protestors calls it a good first step while the officer who leads the Dallas Police Association says too many of the protestors were not peaceful.
“Sure 2,000 to 2,500 of them were peaceful protesters of this community of their surrounding communities who were exercising their constitutional rights,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata. T”he problem is the other 500 or thousand that were imbedded into the peaceful protest were here about Black Lives Matter they weren’t here about a progressive movement. They were here to create chaos. They were here to damage property.”
“That’s always been the argument, but then again a great number of the injuries that took place or during the time when there was a peaceful protest,” said civil rights law attorney Daryl Washington. “At least the city and the Dallas Police Department are acknowledging this less lethal force they are using during these protests is dangerous so we are encouraged to see some change.”
Washington said his clients deserve and are still waiting for apologies from the city.
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