Santa Clara County sheriff challenges proposed restrictions to use of tear gas in protests

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – The Santa Clara County sheriff is challenging a recommendation with regard to less lethal and use of tear gas in crowd control situations.

The proposed changes stem from last year’s George Floyd protests in San Jose.

More than a year later, San Jose police adopted a new policy that restricts police from using rubber bullets to disperse crowds unless someone poses a threat to others or attacks an officer.

Michael Gennaco presented the idea to the Santa Clara County Health and Hospital Committee Thursday.

“What we found that the city of San Jose has come up with a more descriptive policy about use of less-lethal ammunitions under crowd control conditions which we think will provide better guidance to deputies,” Michael Gennaco said. 

But the county sheriff had this to say:

“Not use less-lethal ammunition unless someone is actively assaulting an officer or another person. I think this is absolutely ludicrous and let me tell you why I think that. Again, not unless they’re actively assaulting. I want to remind everyone of the storming of the capitol building,” Sheriff Laurie Smith said. 

County Supervisor Otto Lee who assembled the meeting with another supervisor says this proposal is still in the early stages.

“Once we have these recommendations agreed upon with the committee we will then bring it to the full board. Technically speaking with only need three members to approve a policy changing,” Supervisor Lee said.

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