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KCPD proposes nixing 'less-lethal' crowd control measures

Draft document outlines suggestions after protests
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Posted at 12:56 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 15:37:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department has proposed no longer use of “less-lethal weapons, ammunitions, other than chemical agents,” to disperse or control crowds, according to a draft document presented Tuesday to the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners.

The eight-page document, which is merely a proposal, details how officers and incident commanders will respond to First Amendment-protected activities, including use of force for crowd control.

The policies are being revisited and revised after criticism of KCPD's aggressive use of pepper spray and less-lethal projectiles during protests last summer in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police officers.

Incident commanders typically determine if it is “reasonable and appropriate to use less-lethal weapons, munitions, or chemical agents to neutralize threats in an assembly,” the document states.

Officers would not deploy those methods without the incident commander’s authorization, unless an “immediate need” for protection to self or others arises.

Use of force would be “thoroughly documented in accordance with current written directives,” according to the document.

The draft document also states that the goal at such gatherings is to only make arrests as necessary, “with a focus on identifying any specific individuals who are breaking the law and avoid mass arrest situations.”

In the event that an unlawful assembly has been declared, the document states that arrests would focus on state and federal law violations that prompted the declaration, “and on those individuals responsible for the state and federal violations.”

The draft document also details differences in response to small, peaceful assemblies and large “Protracted and Potentially Unlawful Assemblies.”

Other areas covered in the draft document include when an assembly can be declared unlawful as well as unlawful activities during an assembly.