A bill proposed by a St. Louis alderman would restrict when police could use pepper spray and other chemical agents to disperse crowds.

The plan, filed by 15th Ward Alderman Megan Green, would repeal St. Louis’ existing ordinance on unlawful assemblies, which she argues is too vague and gives officers a wide berth to declare a demonstration unlawful.

It has become an issue in recent weeks because of protests over the Jason Stockley verdict, and Green told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the changes would help protect participants in future demonstrations.

Green’s bill drafted with ACLU assistance says people and groups in the city have the right to participate in assemblies “on the streets, sidewalks, and other public ways, and in the parks in the city, and to engage in assemblies near the object of their protest so they may be seen and heard, subject to reasonable restrictions designed to protect public safety, persons, and property, and to accommodate the interest of persons not participating in the assemblies to use the streets, sidewalks, and other public ways.”

 

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