Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Kick in the Face | Slog:

But imagine, if instead of unloading the pepper spray, the officer had instead casually kicked a student in the face? Or imagine that kick was aimed squarely at the face of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey? You think the officer would have been fired? You think he would've been sued, and likely prosecuted? Of course he would have.

Unlike a kick in the face, pepper spray tends not to leave any visible bruises or scars, but it's not like it hurts any less. Police are using it indiscriminately and without provocation against protesters because it appears more civil than boots, fists, and batons, yet inflicts at least as much pain. They are getting away with brutally assaulting civilians who pose no physical threat to the officers or others, simply because a spray of orange goo doesn't look particularly brutal.

But now imagine if a protester were to casually walk up to one of the officers and empty a can of pepper spray in his face. You think this pepper spraying protester wouldn't end up convicted and imprisoned on charges of assaulting a police officer? Of course he would. Because pepper spray is assault. And thus it should be reserved for use by police only when the use of such physical force is absolutely necessary... or so says one of the weapon's creators: