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Recent Police Use Of Tear Gas Widespread In US, Including San Diego

San Diego Sheriff's Department deploying tear gas into the crowd of protester...

Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: San Diego Sheriff's Department deploying tear gas into the crowd of protesters in front of the La Mesa Police Department Headquarters on May 30, 2020.

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Not since the late 1960s have American police agencies used so much tear gas against American protesters.

Aired: June 17, 2020 | Transcript

Police in at least 98 cities used some form of tear gas over the last few weeks against Americans protesting police brutality and racism, according to reporting by The New York Times.

San Diego and La Mesa are included in the list of cities which deployed the gas.

Related: Biggest Protests Yet

Stuart Schrader of Johns Hopkins University studies race and policing. He told Times reporters that this widespread use of tear gas hasn't been seen in the U.S. since the disturbances of the late 19060s and early '70s.

“Thousands and thousands of utterly ordinary people who thought they were going to an ordinary protest event are finding themselves receiving a really aggressive police response,” Schrader said of recent protests.

Rebecca Lai was one of three reporters who worked on the story for the Times. She told Midday Edition the list of 98 cities is not really comprehensive, as some police departments did not provide clear information. In addition, there is no legal definition of tear gas, which can cause confusion, or even obfuscation, depending on the product used.

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