The City Council voted 7-5 today for a measure that would require police to warn crowds they're about to unleash "non-lethal" weapons and to give people in the crowds a chance to disperse first.
The measure, proposed by Councilors Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Roslindale and Mattapan) and Andrea Campbell (Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale), would also require police officers to get on-site approval from a deputy superintendent or superintendent before getting the weapons ready for us - and would require that superior officer to not only give crowds two warnings, at least two minutes apart, but ensure people have an actual way to leave the scene first.
The measure now goes to Acting Mayor Kim Janey for her consideration. As a councilor last year, Janey voted in favor of a similar measure, which was vetoed by then Mayor Marty Walsh.
In addition to Arroyo and Campbell, Councilors Kenzie Bok (Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, Mission Hill), Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton, Lydia Edwards (Charlestown, East Boston, North End), Julia Mejia (at large) and Michelle Wu (at large) voted for the measure. Councilors Frank Baker (Dorchester), Annissa Essaibi George (at large), Michael Flaherty (at large), Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) and Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, Downtown) voted against.
Arroyo and Campbell said they ultimately want to ban the use of the weapons completely, but that limiting when police can use them is a key step towards "demilitarizing" BPD.