Richmond council votes down tear gas, rubber bullets ban

Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — City councilmembers on Monday voted against an ordinance that would eliminate law enforcement’s use of non-lethal weapons.

Held Monday, Oct. 12, city councilmembers met virtually to discuss Richmond police officer’s deployment of flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets. The resolution, RES 2020-R048, ultimately died with a 7-2 vote.

Councilman Mike Jones and Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch proposed the bill in June amid unrest in Richmond following the death of George Floyd.

Both Jones and Lynch were the lone votes in favor of the non-lethal weapons ban on Monday.

“I cannot, in its current form, support this paper,” said Council Vice President Chris A. Hilbert before the vote. “And so, it’s difficult for me not to strike it as is, but I will let people know that I’m interested in coming back with something relative to a study in this matter rather than an out-and-out ban on these weapons.” 

The ordinance was introduced and referred to the Public Safety Standing Committee on July 1, 2020. The ordinance was recommended for a continuance on July 28, and once again on Sept. 15.

Two weeks later, the Public Safety Committee recommended the resolution to city council.

When the ban was first proposed, Richmond Police Department’s new chief, Gerald Smith, admitted his officers lacked training.

Click here to watch the full meeting.

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