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Rep. Boyd, Dem lawmakers urge governor to ban use of tear gas by police departments

Say tear gas has dangerous health effects, violates civil and human rights, and exacerbates the spread of COVID-19
June 9, 2020
Democrat Newsroom

COLUMBUS—Today, Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and fellow House Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine urging him to ban the use of tear gas by all county, municipal and township police departments indefinitely. 

The demand follows the indiscriminate use of tear gas, pepper spray and mace by law enforcement on Ohioans peacefully protesting police brutality in dozens of towns and cities, large and small, this past week.

“Over the past few weeks we have seen peaceful protesters being subjected to militant police violence via Rubber bullets, baton beatings, and tear gassing mass gatherings of peaceful protesters. This isn’t the 1960’s or a war-torn country. This is 2020 in the United States of America. This is Ohio.

As the Ranking Minority Member on the House Committee on Health, I am extremely concerned about the use of tear gas or any other chemical agents, which are banned under the Geneva Protocol, on the general population and the dangerous impact these agents may have on public health. Over the last week, tear gassing was an egregious and even dangerous response to otherwise peaceful protests, during a pandemic ignited by a respiratory disease.

I urge the Governor to consider who we are as a state, and to immediately prohibit the use of tear gas by all county, municipal and township police departments.” said Rep. Boyd.

The letter outlines that the use of tear gas and other chemical agents should be banned because tear gas:

  • May have dangerous health effects on Ohioans;
  • Violates civil and human rights;
  • Exacerbates the spread of COVID-19.

House Democrats today also revealed their preliminary legislative plan to combat police brutality, which includes a proposed bill to prohibit the use of tear gas by law enforcement.

*Editor’s Note: A copy of the letter is attached.

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Rep. Boyd, Dem lawmakers urge governor to ban use of tear gas by police departments (PDF)