"the ability of that officer to gain compliance is restricted."

Think of the implications on modern fashion:

The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking the fast track for new laws to ban face coverings, gas masks or even goggles at public demonstrations, where the devices could weaken officers who want to control crowds with pepper spray and other chemicals. The proposal advanced this week after Police Commission members dismissed any First Amendment objections as premature. [...]

If protesters wear scarves around their noses and mouths and swim goggles to protect their eyes at public gatherings, Hillman told the commission, "the ability of that officer to gain compliance is restricted."

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35 Responses:

  1. If its that cold outside, you should really be questioning wether your cause is really worth protesting for.

  2. brad says:

    Whoa, that quote is chilling.

  3. baconmonkey says:

    Police Commission President David Cunningham III warned that the proposals raise severe constitutional questions, especially since some of the items to be added to the banned list could be used for legitimate purposes.

    like protecting your eyes from painful chemicals?

  4. brianenigma says:

    The ability of face recognition systems to [mis-]recognize people would be similarly restricted.

  5. waider says:

    IANAL, but "The proposal advanced this week after Police Commission members dismissed any First Amendment objections as premature." looks to me like a First Amendment violation in itself since it's prior restraint on discussing the issue.

    My wiser friend says, "well, yes. unless you're republican and sufficiently well-placed."

    • thealien says:

      No. It's a very different thing to say "I don't want to hear that." as opposed to "I won't let you say that.".

      I think it's a bad idea, though. Outlawing armor is even more objectionable(to me) than outlawing weapons.

  6. mactavish says:

    A friend of mine is so allergic to capsicum that being pepper sprayed, even as an innocent bystander, could kill her. Should she not protest, and not go near protests? (They'd say no, I guess.)

    • jwz says:

      I'm sure their answer would be that if she only participated in lawful protests in Designated Free Speech Zones, there would be no danger of pepper spray being used.

      The innocent have nothing to fear!

  7. kyronfive says:

    WTF happened to freedom of fucking assembly???

  8. whumpdotcom says:

    Apparently there was a typo and the amendment actually read: "Congress shall pass no law restricting the right of the police to stave in the skulls of goddamn hippies."

  9. rasp_utin says:

    "The LAPD is seeking to amend sections 55.07 and 55.08 to include... masks... wrist rockets... and chemical agents.

    ...thus affirming that Spider-Man is by no means welcome in Los Angeles, at least where demonstrations are being held.

  10. fo0bar says:

    My view is the people with the masks and goggles on during protests are usually the ones throwing rocks into store windows, because, umm, the store windows are repressing their right to throw rocks into them.

    That being said, I still think the should have the right to wear them. One would think that those two beliefs are mutually exclusive, but somehow I've worked it out.

    • robcallahan says:

      I wouldn't be so quick to assume that someone is out to vandalize just because they have a gas mask, even if it does make them look a little evil and shifty. I'd only go so far as to infer that they were expecting gas, and planned ahead.

      • fo0bar says:

        My comment was half serious, half tongue-in-cheek. Kinda relates to the whole "all serial killers drank milk as a child" argument.

      • belgand says:

        Well, if you're wearing protective gear to a protest then you likely expect it to get out of hand, be declared a riot, and have the police start gassing people. While I do support the rights of people to protect themselves (and really, this is rather scary) I would likewise worry a bit about people who come expecting trouble. I probably wouldn't attend any protest of that sort.

        Think about it this way. If you're doing everything right and something gets out of hand on either side and the police start gassing everyone you'll recieve much more public sympathy if it looks like the cops are being violent assholes who are out of line. If protestors are coming prepared for that it makes it look like they planned to riot from the beginning and the cops were trying to maintain order.

        • rasp_utin says:

          Keep in mind that it's gotten to the point where shoppers need to start wearing full protective gear to their local Wal-Mart during holiday sales-- the likelihood of getting into fistfights over the newest abominable incarnation of Elmo, or getting trampled on the way to the reduced-price DVD players, is fairly high.

          I'm kidding. Sort of.

    • kynn says:

      My view is the people with the masks and goggles on during protests are usually the ones throwing rocks into store windows...

      What makes you think that?


  11. kallisti says:

    They better hope that there are no SARS outbreaks that co-incide with protests...That would not be a good situation...

    Many Police have a "give us an inch, we'll take a mile" attitude, and take far too much pleasure in exhibiting force...there is too much "Us vs Them" in police subculture. I've met and know some great officers of the Law, but I've also met some that scare me more than the crooks do! And it sounds like the LAPD is of that last flavour :-(


  12. volkris says:

    Eh, let them wear whatever they want.

    They just need to understand that when the pepperspray no longer works the heavier weaponry will be cleared for use.

    • Are you saying that this is the reasoning behind the proposed law? To keep worse laws from being proposed?

      • volkris says:

        No, that wasn't sarcasm.

        IF the police must do something about these crowds and the tear gas no longer works, then they'll have to take it to the next level.

        The law is stupid.

  13. unabomber says:

    Similar laws have been on the books in many places in the Midwest, but they prohibit public demonstration while wearing face gear as a method to curtail Klan rallies.

    And protective respiratory gear is a moot point, since I know for a fact that the LAPD has a full arsenal of foam baton rounds, rubber bullets, and other less-than-lethal ammunition that they would be more than glad to fire into crowds if they thought their pepper spray wasn't doing the trick.

    Of course, in LA, the main issue is not political demonstration, but the mass riots that happen after major sporting event upsets. Maybe that's why they don't consider it a first amendment issue.


  14. mskala says:

    What if my religious beliefs require me to cover my face in public? Some people's do. Maybe this is just my paranoia speaking, but in this day and age, considering who's in power and who they hate right now, this sounds to me like it may be targeting more than just those wacky hippies who want to avoid getting an eyeful of oleoresin capsicum.

    Then, too, I'm reminded of all that wonderful automated face recognition technology. Concealing your face has a lot more implications than just protection from pepper spray.

  15. glocka says:

    Also, coats and sweaters should not be allowed, because they would reduce the effectiveness of rubber bullets.