“Non-lethal” Police Weapons

*****THIS post is in DRAFT form until this note is removed*****

“Congress shall make no law—abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”

Often it seems that our local police are asked to enforce local ordinances, charters etc that politicians have implemented in an attempt to circumvent this very critical piece of our 1st Ammendment.

The 1st Ammendment not only guarantees our right to speak and assemble freely, it REQUIRES our governments not to pass any law that conflicts with that right.

If I want to assemble with likeminded people at noon on Monday or at 4 am on Friday, under the Constitution I am allowed to do so.

Yet, many jurisdictions have passed local laws saying that I cannot.  And then they pay their police to enforce these unconstitutional pieces of crap local ordinances.

We, the people, must tell our federal politicians that we will remove them from office if they fail to do their job and enforce our 1st Ammendment rights.

Lately, with the @OccupyWallStreet encampments having sprung up worldwide we have seen more and more police actions against protestors and hear about use of “Non-lethal” weapons.

What are nonlethal weapons?  What do they include and what kind of damage can they do when used against human beings?

***I am not an expert in police weapons, tactics or the law.  If I get something wrong here, please let me know.  I will research your issue and fix the entry.

Non-lethal weapons are used by police in many situations such as barricaded suspects, riots, protests and demonstrations and (XXX).  In these situations police have a need to either convince someone to give themselves up, cease an activity or vacate an area.

Types of Non-lethal weaponry:

Non-lethal weapons include a significant range of items including various pepper agents that have been around for a long time and some new ones.

  • mace and pepper spray

This video fits a couple of different weapons.  It occured on the campus of the University of California at Davis on November 18th.

First, you see one officer step over the seated protestors and move in front of them.  He then blatently sprays pepper spray directly into the faces of these seated protestors.  They posed no threat to the officers and offered no resistence.  I am shocked the crowd and those sprayed stayed non-violent.  This video disturbs me so…

Also, aside from the mace can, you can see officers carrying what appear to be pepper ball rifles (??)

  • tear gas spray,
  • tear gas canisters and tear gas grenades

Gas that is dispersed or spread using projectiles such as canister or grenades fired from a weapon can cause harm in a number of ways in addition to the harm from the gas itself.

Gas can also be dispersed in a “Fog” often called Pepper Fog  some local jurisdictions do carry pepper fog materials.

Cannisters and grenades can (and do) strike people and cause massive damage including soft tissue wounds, broken bones, concussions, damage to eyes, noses, mouth and genitals.

  • percussion grenades

In the police actions against Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in Oakland California most of us have heard about the injuries suffered by American Veteran Scott Olsen who was struck in the head by a tear gas canister.  While he was laying unconscious on the ground a police officer tossed a tear gas grenade right next to Olsen, scaring a gathering crowd away and possibly doing more damage.

Below are a couple of photos of Iraq Veteran, Marine Scott Olsen and a video of Olsen being first struck by the canister and then of the tear gas grenade being tossed directly toward Olsen as he lays injured on the ground.

There was a vigil held in Oakland for Olsen after this attack.  The injuries suffered by this Iraq veteran who it seems posed no real threat to the police on-site the night of the attack (from the Oakland PD, Alameda County Sheriff, Palo Alto Police Department or others) seemed to have re-energized the protestors and certainly increased the donations they collected.

  • batons
  • rubber bullets

Rubber bullets sound so harmless, and as opposed to full-metal jacketed bullets they certainly are.  They are not made to penetrate flesh although they can.  Rubber bullets can do a lot of damage to soft tissue and bones and seriously wound a person if they strike an eye, ear, nose, mouth or genitals.

The first  photo below is a rubber shotgun shell and the bullet or projectile which lives in the shell before it is fired.  Look at the fins which help with the flight of the rubber projectile increasing distance and accuracy.

In the next photo in the we see a shotgun shell used to propel a beanbag round and, in the other hand, is a rubber bullet.

The shotgun shell fires from the weapon and opens at the top allowing the actual projectile(such as a beanbag)  to separate from the shell and project further, just  as pellets in a regular shotgun shell would do.

The next two photos show actual damage to a human being who has been struck with a rubber bullet.  The first is a facial injury and the second is a chest wound.

You can see that these non-lethal weapons can do a lot of damage to a person.

  • bean bags

There are a ton of bean bags weapons out there.  Most are shotgun based and fire 12g bean bags such as this one.

A 12 gauge round that direct fires a 26 gram or 40 gram bean bag projectile. Designed for single target engagement allowing escalation of force from a close distance prior to use of lethal means. ”

Such intruiging naes….the “Power Punch”.  If you felt it slam into your bbody you would definitely feel the punch and wonder if it was actually “non-lethal”.

So where do such nonlethal weapons come from?According to one source many used by the Oakland PD come from the same U.S. based arms company that supplies the Israeli Army:

The police repression on display in Oakland reminded me of tactics I witnessed the Israeli army employ against Palestinian popular struggle demonstrations in occupied West Bank villages like Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin and Bilin. So I was not surprised when I learned that the same company that supplies the Israeli army with teargas rounds and other weapons of mass suppression is selling its dangerous wares to the Oakland police. The company is Defense Technology, a Casper, Wyoming based arms firm that claims to “specialize in less lethal technology” and other “crowd management products.”

Read more of this article HERE

Note:  There is nothing wrong with police departments purchasing these weapons nor with the company manufacturing and selling them.

One article states that of the various agencies on-site during the October 25th siege of the Oakland encampment only the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department allowed their officers to use explosive tear gas canisters.

Read the Fog City Journal article at the link above.

Society will need to decide whether we want to continue to allow our police departments to use such weapons against American civilians whose crime is something like “trespassing” or “violating curfew” or even “failure to follow a police officer’s direct order”.

In my mind, these crimes do not seem significant enough to warrant such weapons being used.

Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen lay bloodied while regaining consciousness after being struck by an unknown projectile during a protest in Oakland on Tuesday. Photo by Jay Finneburgh

Below is Scott Olsen after leaving the hospital November 12th and looking much better.  Olsen was still having trouble speaking when he left the hospital and will require some ongoing therapy for a period of time.

The last item will not seem like a “weapon” to many of you or to the police.  I am talking about a badge that is hidden or covered in some way so that the public cannot identify the officer.

This usually happens in a “riot” gear setting.  The officer puts black electrical tape over the badge or sticks it in his pocket or pulls a pocket flap down over the badge.  It is usually done from a state of fear.  It may seem to us that it is from arrogance, but in truth the officer worries that an uncovered shiny badge marks him as a target.

You most often see this happen at night when a flashlight or a camera light or the headlights of a passing car make that badge just light up.

However, it is against the law for an officer to hide or cover up his identity—his badge with his name and number.

To the public that hidden badge does seem to be a weapon.  We know it is against the law and may even remind the officer.  That rarely changes the behavior.  And we wonder “if he covers his badge, what will he do to me?”  Cops understand it is intimidating even if that is not their primary reason.

The California Penal Code states that uniformed police officers must wear “a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly…the identification number or name of the officer”.

Feel free to remind the police of this when they forget.”

More at the link.

“Congress shall make no law—abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”

“Sound cannons” or  “LRAD” or “Sonic Blasters” are another “non-lethal” weapon developed for military use on the battlefield and now being turned against American citizens on U.S. soil doing nothing but protesting.

Are these protests large crowds?  Are these protests rowdy?  Are the protestors breaking the law?  Yes, sometimes.  But we are talking about protests and protestors.  If (when) foreign governments turn these weapons against their own citizens we would (and do) complain and ask them to stop.

But the products, which the makers developed as nonlethal options for military use, are prompting outcries from people on the receiving end, who call them “sound cannons.” The city of Pittsburgh is fighting an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit claiming the piercing tone from a police blaster during the 2009 G-20 summit permanently damaged a woman’s hearing. At least one Occupy Wall Street protester says New York City police also used the punishing alert tone, although police say they have used the device only to broadcast messages.

LRAD says its products offer police something louder than a megaphone and more benign than rubber bullets and tear gas for managing crowds, defusing hostage situations and serving warrants on dangerous suspects.”  More at the link above.


The U. S. General Strike

We have a call for a U. S. General Strike.

When:     Wednesday, November 2nd

On Twitter join @USGeneralStrike

List of Endorsements of the Nov 2 General Strike, constantly updated.

More posters can be found HERE for Occupy, the Global United as well as the General Strike in case that is why you are here.  Share them, print, e-mail, fax, anything you can do to get them in the hands of more people.

Hand them out to Ten people and ask them to give posters to ten more people.

Start a General Strike  WAVE

.As of Halloween, the General Strike is growing by the minute with official Strikes and support groups in cities across the U.S. all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

This may turn out to be the largest General Strike ever held and we will shut the city of Oakland California DOWN on November 2nd.


To begin we have:

March Against The Police StateWear All-Black

Where:    Oakland, Oscar Grant Plaza at 14th & Broadway

When:      Saturday, October 29th

8 PM


The call for a general strike against Oakland, California is in response to the terrible actions of the police and the city against protestors associated with the @OccupyOakland movement which is an off-shoot of the @OccupyWallStreet effort.

On Tuesday, October 25th Oakland police, backed by officers from other jurisdictions, attacked protestors in downtown starting with an effort to remove protestors from their downtown encampment that morning.

In the evening protestors worked to re-establish their camp and the police resisted.

The police actions resulted in injuries to numerous protestors including an Iraq War Marine veteran, Scott Olsen.

Olsen was struck in the head apparently by a tear gas canister.

The crowd scattered as the tear gas dispersed that night.  Olsen lay injured on the ground, unable to get up and run.

Compatriots ran back, grabbed him by the shoulders in an attempt to pull him away from further harm or arrest as they had done so many times before on that night.

This time was different, at least on video it seemed different.  One police office was caught on video throwing a 2nd tear gas grenade directly into the group of people trying to rescue Scott Olsen.

A few people realize what is about to happen and move away just as the tear gas canister explodes!!  BOOM!!! Right next to the injured Marine.

His friends and other protestors come right back to grab Olsen again and pull him away from further harm.

Olsen’s photo (below), and many others,  have been distributed across the country on mainstream & cable news channels and the internet.

 And this disturbing video has been shown across the country.  It is disturbing to watch an officer sworn to uphold the law and keep people safe, purposely try to injure people.

And, more disturbing. he does injure people: including the Marine who was already laying injured on the ground directly in the path of the  grenade this cop launches toward the protesters

Watch and see for yourself:

This video flat-out disturbs me to the core, as it should disturb you.


October 28th Update:


In Oakland we will have a march at 5 pm PT:

We will shut down the port and liberate Oakland

A Mass Day of Action On November 2nd

Everyone take to the streets:

No work!

No school!!

No play!!!

Mass gatherings at 14th & Broadway at 9:00 am, 12 noon, and 5:00 pm Pacific Time; ET is Noon, 3 pm and 8 pm

A Liberar Oakland

The General Strike is alive and well in YOUR city.

Don’t live in Oakland??

No work!

No school!!

No play!!! 


A Message To Employers, etc

Who May Discipline Their Workers

For Participation In The General Strike

Agreed upon in Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly 10.29.11

The Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly vows to picket and or occupy any business or school which disciplines employees or students in ANY way for participating in the November 2nd strike and day of action.

• The Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly would like this warning to be known in the general community.
• Any worker who thinks they have been disciplined for participating in the General Strike may come to the Strike Assembly to ask for picket support against their employer.
• The Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly will keep meeting after the strike in case of delayed disciplinary measures by employers and will maintain an email list to mobilize for any measures after that. If workers cannot make the general strike committee they may email OccupyOaklandLaborSolidarity@gmail.com
• If any such disciplined workers are represented  by a union, we will call on that union to join us in picketing.

November 2 Picket support from Occupy Oakland

Any group of workers who want are picket line at their workplace on November 2nd should come to the Occupy Oakland Strike Assembly meeting at 5 in front of Oakland City Hall or email OccupyOaklandLaborSolidarity@gmail.com


 @OccupyPhoenix just passed a note over to the folks at @OccupyOakland endorsing the General Strike and their work to end police violence in Oakland.

The people united—will never be defeated!!!

October 29th:

Oakland’s Teachers Union has UNANIMOUSLY endorsed the Oakland General Strike on Nov 2!!!

Let’s make history!

@OccupyOregon now endorses the General Strike.

Let’s make history.

And a 2nd General Strike poster:

@OccupyPasadena California supports the General Strike as more and more cities sign on!!

The Carpenters Union Local has joined in the General Strike

@OccupyOrangeCounty  @OccupyOC has joined the Gerneral Strike

@OccupySeattle joins in the November 2nd General Strike and stands in solidarity with @OccupyNashville in the 4th straight night of heavy police action

@OccupyMills College joins the General Strike team!

SEIU 1021 , the biggest union in Oakland has voted to join the General Strike

@OccupyMilwaukee supports the student walkout as part of the General Strike

October 31st:

A Happy Halloween Epic banner drop over I-580  near Oakland—STRIKE!

@OccupyHouston joins the General Strike partnership.

The October 26th General Assembly in Oakland called for the Nov 2 General Strike!!

In Oakland on Nov 2:  at 2:00pm gather together at the Intersection of Broadway and Telegraph for an “Anti-Capitalist March“.

Don’t Miss it!!!

@OccupyOakland and the City of Oakland both prepare for the General Strike.

“Anti-Wall Street demonstrators and Oakland city officials on Monday were preparing for a midweek strike by protesters that would include a possible shutdown of the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest shipping container port in the U.S….

…According to its website, the local Service Employees International Union is encouraging members to seek time off work to stand in support of Occupy Oakland….

…The Port of Oakland was where more than 40 people were injured after police used less-lethal ammunition on crowds of anti-war protesters in 2003. Oakland officials later adopted new crowd control rules defining when and what types of less than lethal ammunition can be used.

Late Monday, Oakland city officials released a bulletin advising businesses and merchants that police will be on hand Wednesday in case demonstrations become unlawful.”
More at the link above.

Oakland Elementary School has joined in supporting the GeneralStrike.

“The staff at Bridges Academy at Melrose sent a bilingual flier home to families, inviting them to join them in Wednesday’s general strike in support of Occupy Oakland — and informing them that teachers would not be in their classrooms that day.”

I salute the staff and the children at Bridges Academy.  More at the link.

Where will you say you were on November 2nd?  On the sofa…or in the streets?  Fighting for your rights!!!

October 31st:

General Strike newspaper

PCBOAKLAND Pacific Coast Brewing will be closed on November 2nd in solidarity with @OccupyOakland and the @USGeneralStrike   U.S. General Strike

November 2nd:

A lot of action nationwide today and especialy in Oakland.

Police and protestors clash in Oakland.

About 5 pm PT Oakland protestors shut down the Oakland Port, the 5th busiest port in the U.S.A.  There was no ship movement and no materials movement iu or out of the port of Oakland.

“Police and protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement have clashed downtown following a day of peaceful protests throughout Oakland.”

The marches and demonstrations in @OccupyOakland were nonviolent all day including the shutdown of the busy port.

However, after these actions things did turn violent downtown .  And, although police still deny using such devices last week in Oakland, tear gas canisters and “flash-bang” grenades were once again fired in Oakland by either the Oakland PD, Alameda Sheriff’s Department or support staff from other police or Sheriff’s departments called in by the Oakland PD to help protect the Oakland citizens.

1 am in Oakland Pacific Time on Oct. 3rd about @OccupyOakland.  Many photos at the link.

They are shared by @OccupyPhoenix  Thank you!!

The scene is best described as post-apocalyptic dystopia with a drum circle: 

from @JoshuaHol, Joshua Holland.  Thanks!

@USGeneralStrike states “The police in Oakland are shooting the homeless with rubber bullets and tear gas ”

If you want to focus on one stream on Twitter about @OccupyOakland that would be my choice tonight folks.

U-Stream on Oakland raid tonight is HERE

Police are using bean bags, tear gas grenades and rubber bullets in this action as seen on the U-Stream.

They have drained their Droid-X battery and arew requesting that anyone that has Droid-X battery(s) to donate or loan—please bring them down to @OccupyOakland.  You would be much appreciated for the assist.

“Oscar Grant Plaza looks like a Warzone. Tear Gas, Flash Bangs, the typical Oakland Cocktail. Watch @OakFoSho

The @GlobalRevolution LiveStream is HERE and taken the place of the U-Stream above.

Announcements being made by police on Broadway and 15th.  Declared an “unlawful assembly”  Chemical agents will be used.

“Fear of camp raid 2nite. Raheim Brown Community Center was reclaimed by occupiers and then retaken by police with tear gas and bullets.”   from @OccupyOakland at 1:50 pm PT


In case you are wonderingThere are thousands of protestors at the Port of Oakland THIS minute!!

The Port of Oakland has been SHUT DOWN and will continue to be SHUT DOWN.

Police are attacking at 15th & Broadway in Oakland Califrornia RIGHT NOW:  2:05 am PDT on October 3rd.

U-Stream is about to cut out, still need a Droid X battery if you have one.

Another stream is HERE with @anonmedics

November 6th:

@OccupyOakland  Oakland the days b4 and the days after the U.S. General Strike: 

Man, how successful these people were.  The people of Oakland have had their asses kicked for years, but they just keep coming back.  And this time….they showed the world!!!

At the link you find a personal account that the writer gives to us about what he saw and experienced during those days before and after the General Strike.

What an excellent account we are provided with.  Make sure you take a few minutes to read this.

And HERE is an annonymously edited 15 minute video of different portions of the General Strike including the Occupation of the Port of Oakland.  Yes, I will say it again:  this is the Fifth busiest port in the entire U.S.A.