A federal judge has restricted officers with the Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team from using less-lethal launchers during protests until they get further training and “can recognize and articulate a threat without speculating and before using less-lethal force.”
U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez issued the sanctions Tuesday afternoon in a written ruling.
They follow the judge’s finding in November that two officers had acted in contempt of his June 26 order barring police from firing 40mm less-lethal launchers and using pepper spray on people engaged in passive resistance, Oregon Live reports.
The case stemmed from a suit filed by Don’t Shoot Portland, a black-led nonprofit that advocates for social and racial justice in the city. The nonprofit’s lawyers had sought more drastic sanctions, including a ban on impact munitions and for the Police Bureau to permanently remove officers from protest duty if they violate the court order, with fines issued for future violations.
Hernandez didn’t go that far. He issued what he called “coercive” versus punitive sanctions against the city, “to obtain compliance with the Court’s order,” his ruling said. Many of the actions ordered had been suggested by city attorneys during a hearing in January.