Police Now Have To Warn Ferguson Protesters Before Firing Tear Gas

Police Now Have To Warn Ferguson Protesters Before Firing Tear Gas

A judge delivered a legal victory to protesters Thursday, saying police have to warn protesters and give them time to disperse before firing tear gas.

A demonstrator throws a tear gas container back at police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 13.

Robert Cohen / MCT / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The order — which was issued by U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson — also requires police to give protesters a “reasonable” time to disperse before actually pulling the trigger, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The judge issued the order in a case filed by a group of protesters, a St. Louis University professor, and a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild.

Brittany Ferrell — a plantiff in the case, as well as a protester and co-founder of Millennial Activists United — praised the order. In a phone interview with BuzzFeed News, she said it should give people who want to express themselves time to get out of the way if they so choose.

“When police use tear gas,” Ferrell said, “they tend to do so without warning. You have people out there who are asthmatic. You have people are are not prepared to be gassed.”

A protester reaches for a tear gas canister during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on Nov. 25.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The case names the chiefs of the St. Louis city and county police departments as defendants, along with Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who commanded the police response to the protests for much of August.

Attorneys representing police could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.

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