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Issue: Was the City Council Justified in Approving the Use of Pepper Spray on People Who Resist Arrest?

March 14, 1993|Iris Yokoi / Times community correspondent

Karen Jaeger: Echo Park resident and community activist I'm glad they are looking for alternative means of subduing these people, but I, for instance, have asthma. Suppose they use the spray on someone who has a condition like asthma. . . . It may possibly cause that person's death. I'd like to see a little more medical testing. Also, it's supposed to put people down for 45 minutes; maybe a less intensive amount, so it would put you down for less than 45 minutes, would be enough to subdue someone without posing a medical threat.

Brian Kito: Business owner, Little Tokyo I think it's a better move if it gives the police officer a better advantage to take somebody down without the use of more physical violence. But I'm not fully educated on what this pepper gas is all about. If it is tested to be safe, I'd be all for it. If it's only a temporary restraint and . . . as long as they get the proper training, because I think anything could be misused. If it were properly used, I can see great advantages to it. I think the police officers need to be given more alternatives.

Yolanda Robles: Boyle Heights resident , Neighborhood Watch member I think it's excellent. It's much better than the regular tactics they have to use . . . the physical, the chokehold, the baton. There have to be other ways of restraining people, other than shooting them or breaking their necks. In a confrontation, both sides, instead of using these violent, physical attacks, need to realize there are other ways of restraining. Like anything, abuse of it can be lethal to anybody, especially for older people or people with respiratory problems. So adequate training is going to be necessary, and monitoring the effects after using it.

Joe Hicks: Executive director, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Given that there's been a history of LAPD shootings, any devices they use that are non-lethal certainly we would think would be better than utilizing the lethal forces the LAPD have traditionally used. On the other hand, where we have to go in the city is looking quite carefully at the issues of crime and public safety and what kinds of things we can do to lessen the levels of crime and violence. The bottom line in all this is social change, looking at the kinds of conditions that people live under . . . what causes them to engage in criminal activities simply as a survival device. We have to reach for solutions.

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