NOPD demonstrates use of rubber balls used on bridge protesters; says it’s a last resort

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 9:32 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -New Orleans Police Dept. Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and members of the Special Operations Division held a live fire demonstration of munitions that were used last Wednesday on protesters marching on the Crescent City Connection.

In addition to the demonstration Tuesday, the NOPD also explained to the media the type of tear gas that was used on the bridge.

Sgt. Morel, head of the NOPD’s Bomb Squad, said the department uses the lowest level of tear gas, No. 2 CS.

Morel said this particular tear gas is the least impactful and offers the quickest recovery.

The gas, in the form of a canister, is rolled into the crowd in an effort to disperse and restore order.

Eight canisters were used on the CCC last Wednesday.

The NOPD also said that it does not use rubber bullets, but does use rubber balls as a last resort.

Sgt. Morel said that the balls have a distance between 15 and 50 feet when fired from a launcher and is equivalent to being hit with a paintball.

Two rounds of the balls were deployed into the crowd.

Chief Ferguson said that multiple pieces of NOPD equipment was stolen during the confrontation with the protesters including helmets, shields, and police radios.

Officers on the bridge deployed paint markers to identify the stolen items.

At a news conference yesterday, Ferguson apologized to the residents of New Orleans and said he had no knowledge of the use of the rubber balls and that the commanding officer on the bridge that night did not give approval to use them.

Ferguson promised a full investigation into what happened on the CCC and will look into the department’s use of force and all policies and procedures.

Ferguson said that the rubber balls, also called stinger rounds, are typically used to disperse crowds and that it is a tool used by law enforcement all over the country.

Several hundred people gathered on the bridge last Wednesday. Police vehicles and officers in riot gear blocked the bridge and the marchers were stopped.

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