City and County of Denver, plaintiffs reach compromise regarding use of less lethal weapons by Denver PD

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DENVER (KDVR) — A federal judge issued an order on June 19, extending the temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the Denver Police Department from using less lethal weapons against peaceful protesters until June 26.

The order comes after DPD’s use of pepper balls and other controversial tactics that injured demonstrators during recent weeks.

On June 17, the same judge, R. Brooke Jackson, instructed the plaintiffs and the City and County of Denver to reach a compromise.

“The parties, if they set aside the extremes on both sides, should be able to reach an agreement that accomplishes mutually desired goals. If the parties, despite their respective statements that they have similar goals, cannot reach an agreement, then they may submit their respective proposed orders, and the Court will likely enter the order or a version of it that is the most reasonable,” Jackson wrote on June 17.

The plaintiffs and the City and County of Denver have officially agreed upon the following items:

  • The Denver Police Department and any person acting on behalf of DPD cannot discharge Kinetic Impact Projectiles (“KIPs”) and all other non- or less-lethal projectiles in a manner that targets the head, pelvis, or back.
  • DPD cannot discharge KIPs indiscriminately into a crowd.
  • DPD cannot use chemical agents or irritants, including pepper spray and tear gas, prior to issuing an order to disperse in a sufficient manner to ensure the order is heard and repeated if necessary, followed by sufficient time and space to allow compliance with the order.
  • DPD will not use chemical agents or KIPs unless an on-scene supervisor at the rank of Sergeant or above specifically authorizes such use of force in response to specific acts of violence or destruction of property that the Sergeant has personally witnessed or learned about from a fellow officer, absent exigent circumstances.
  • Exigent circumstances include but are not limited to situations where the Sergeant could not be immediately present and delay would be unreasonable.
  • All officers deployed to the demonstrations or engaged in the demonstrations must have their body-worn cameras recording any and all acts of confrontation between police officers and others.
  • Officers shall not intentionally obstruct the camera or recording.
  • Non-Denver officers shall not use any weapon beyond what Denver itself authorizes for its own officers.
  • All non-Denver officers shall comply with Colorado law regarding the use of force and responses to protests or demonstrations.

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