As violent skirmishes between police and protestors continue in Portland and across the country, discussion rages about how police may use less fatal force. Some companies are stepping up to offer new high-tech equipment for cops to use instead of more harmful options like pepper spray, rubber bullets, and flash grenades, such as remote handcuffs.
Amnesty International examined 500 pieces of footage from protests from May 26 to June 5 and discovered 125 instances of excessive force in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
“We witnessed tear gas, pepper spray, pepper balls, 40 millimetre impact bullets, practically every combination of less-lethal weapon used in inappropriate ways,” said Brian Castner, a weapons investigator for Amnesty International.
Nonetheless, some argue that having options is critical in avoiding the necessity for a handgun.
“All of these technology should be available for cops to use instead of fatal physical force with a firearm because law enforcement is the only profession in America where citizens give you the authority to kill people,” said Corey Pegues, a former Deputy Inspector with the New York Police Department.
The Bola Wrap, a handheld device that blasts out an 8-foot Kevlar cable that wraps around a suspect, is one of the newest equipment. Long-range acoustic devices, often known as sound cannons, directed energy weapons that employ lasers to heat a person’s skin, new projectiles made from foam and chalk, stink bombs, and, of course, the Tasers are among the weapons available.
When protests turned violent days following the police killing of George Floyd, shares of Axon, the company that makes the Taser, jumped more than 18%, reaching all-time highs. By 2023, the market for non-lethal weaponry is anticipated to be worth $11.85 billion.
Watch the video to learn about the new high-tech tools that cops are utilizing for less-lethal force, how they’re controlled, and what’s at risk for policing’s future and the communities it serves.
Visit our blog section to learn more about the use of less lethal force.