The Milwaukee Police Department is asking city leaders to reconsider purchasing more tools for deploying chemical irritants, saying the equipment might be needed at the Democratic National Convention in August.
Bids to purchase the tools were canceled after several Common Council members raised objections Wednesday citing the police department’s use of tear gas and rubber bullet during recent protests over police brutality.
Mayor Tom Barrett and other officials have publicly opposed the recent use of tear gas and rubber bullets during protests.
The police department said in a statement that the equipment would be used to protect the public from armed suspects, hostage situations and active shooters, the Journal Sentinel reported.
MPD said the decision to cancel the bids was made without any input from law enforcement, including the Secret Service.
Ald. Nik Kovac, who raised concerns about purchase bids, said chemical irritants should never be used against American citizens, even in the hypothetical case of some kind of disturbance during a major event such as the DNC.
“Whatever weapons you give someone, they end up using, is a general rule of thumb,” Kovac said. “If we’re really going to train police to be de-escalators, to humanize, to respect the First Amendment, we probably shouldn’t give them the tools where they can very easily not do that.”