St. Louis considers limiting pepper spraying of protesters

St. Louis, Miss. (KSDK) – A St. Louis alderwoman wants to limit when police use chemical agents like pepper spray and tear gas on protesters.

Megan Ellyia Green of Ward 15 says Board Bill 134 could better protect their first amendment rights.

“It’s time that the City start to put policies in place that really respect the rights of our residents to be out in the street and protesting,” Green said.

Green points to examples like Friday’s protest downtown, where 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge says an officer gave no warning before pepper spraying him.

“He just took his pepper spray, sprayed me directly in the face,” Aldridge said. “He didn’t say, ‘If you don’t back up, I’m going to spray you.'”

KSDK asked St. Louis police how they gave orders to disperse that night. A spokesperson didn’t answer that question, but wrote, “Officers deploy tactics when criminal activity arises and escalation depends on the level of aggression. Pepper spray is a non-lethal tool used when unlawful behavior occurs to protect life and property.”

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