A disagreement has erupted over dealing with protesters at the Republic National Convention in St. Paul this summer, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A plan to limit Minneapolis police officers’ use of Tasers, chemical irritant spray, helmets, and shields prompted the Police Federation to fire off a letter to police and city officials on both sides of the Mississippi River. “We believe that the mission of the officers being deployed on the front lines is primarily to keep the peace rather than to serve as hospitality attendants,” said federation President John Delmonico.
Officers have been told that Tasers and chemical sprays will be limited to reduce the risk of abuse, Delmonico said. Those on the “front lines” will be barred from wearing helmets and carrying riot shields because they would appear “intimidating, he said. Disallowing Tasers or irritant spray places officers in the position of having to escalate to blunt instruments or deadly force if the protesters become violent, he said.