Directive issued to LAPD personnel restricting use of projectile launchers against protesters

FILE PHOTO - LAPD officers respond to protests over the death of George Floyd on June 2, 2020. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that a directive has been issued to LAPD personnel about restricting the use of 40mm and 37mm projectile launchers against crowds of protesters as the Minnesota murder trial of a former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd nears an end, raising concerns about a repeat of mass protests and unrest that occurred last summer.

The directive calls for an immediate moratorium on the use of the 37-millimeter projectile launcher and restricts the use of the 40-millimeter launcher to only officers who have been trained. Those officers who have been trained can only use the launcher on people who pose a threat of serious bodily injury to others, Moore said.

The directives come after a federal judge issued orders restricting the department's use of the launchers against crowds of protesters after Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles filed a request for a temporary restraining order against the LAPD.


Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles filed the temporary restraining order against the LAPD in light of a March 25 protest in Echo Park and a March 13 demonstration in Hollywood in which police and protesters clashed and a member of the press was struck by a projectile and knocked out, suffering a concussion, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall granted BLM-LA's request to halt the LAPD's use of the so-called "less lethal" weapons in public demonstrations "except when deployed by officers that are properly trained."

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She also restricted police from "aiming the weapons at the upper bodies of demonstrators at close range within five feet."

The judge further ordered that LAPD must give a verbal warning to disperse, consistent with the department's use of force directive, and allow protesters a reasonable opportunity to comply before deploying a 40mm or 37mm launcher, "except when an officer is attacked."

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CNS contributed to this report.