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ACLU requests Virginia police be barred from using irritants

ACLU attorneys argue that police violate protesters constitutional rights to speech by using chemical irritants to disperse them.
Credit: AP
A man kicks a tear gas canister during a march against police brutality and racism in Paris, France, Saturday, June 13, 2020, organized by supporters of Adama Traore, who died in police custody in 2016 in circumstances that remain unclear despite four years of back-and-forth autopsies. The march is expected to be the biggest of several demonstrations Saturday inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., and French police ordered the closure of freshly reopened restaurants and shops along the route fearing possible violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

RICHMOND, Va. — Lawyers from the Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union have filed an emergency request to bar police in the state from using chemical irritants or other devices to disperse protesters. 

News outlets report ACLU attorneys argued in a Richmond court Monday that police violated protesters’ constitutional rights to speech by using these devices to disperse a protest outside city hall on June 23. 

On Twitter that night, Richmond police said the protests were deemed unlawful because protesters were blocking traffic and entrances to buildings. 

A city attorney said barring the use of such devices is an impediment to police.

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