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Federal judge sides with activists in dispute with Detroit police

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A federal judge late Friday temporarily barred Detroit police from using tear gas, rubber bullets, batons, shields, chokeholds or sound cannons against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters after a group accused the city for excessive force.

U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Michelson partially granted a temporary restraining order filed Monday by Detroit Will Breathe against the city of Detroit, accusing police of using excessive force to deter protesters from practicing their free speech rights.

As part of the temporary restraining order, the judge enjoins the Detroit Police Department from:

1-Using striking weapons (including, but not limited to, batons and shields), chemical agents (including, but not limited to, tear gas and pepper spray), or rubber bullets against any individual peacefully engaging in protest or demonstrations who does not pose a physical threat to the safety of the public or police; 2-Deploying chemical agents or a sound cannon against persons peacefully engaging in protest or demonstrations without an audible warning and a reasonable amount of time to disperse; 3-Placing in a chokehold or ramming with a vehicle any individual attending a demonstration; 4-Tightening the zip ties or handcuffs placed on any individual to the point that the restraints cause physical injury, including loss of circulation or change in color; 5-Arresting any demonstrators en masse without probable cause.

The order says if the plaintiffs wish to seek relief for an alleged violation of the order, the city must respond to the motion for relief within 24 hours.

The order will be in effect for at least 14 days.

Police Chief James Craig said the order won't change how his department handles protests because officers have used force only when protesters weren't peaceful. 

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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