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Tear gas clouds were ubiquitous during the first days of protests.
Tear gas clouds were ubiquitous during the first days of protests.

All the "Less-Lethal" Munitions Used by Law Enforcement at Protests

For the last two weeks, downtown Denver has been the site of major protests, as thousands rally to demand law enforcement accountability and reform following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The streets of Denver have felt chaotic at times, and in the first week of the demonstrations, law enforcement officials often employed what's referred to as "less-lethal" munitions to disperse protesters.

But who used what kind of less-lethal munitions? And when? There's still plenty of confusion over that.

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that thirteen law enforcement agencies have assisted the Denver Police Department during the protests. At one point, members of the Colorado National Guard were also deployed to assist Denver police. And throughout the demonstrations, the Colorado State Patrol has been responsible for guarding the State Capitol building.

While other law enforcement entities were operating under Denver's jurisdiction, they didn't necessarily follow the DPD's use-of-force policy, or the department's dictates regarding less-lethal weapons; they've relied on the playbooks for their own localities. That ended late on June 5, however, when a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order dictating that all of the law enforcement agencies operating in Denver during the protests follow the same strict guidelines regarding which less-lethal weapons can be used, and when.

To understand what protesters had been facing on the streets before Judge R. Brooke Jackson's order, Westword reached out to all thirteen of the outside agencies, as well as the National Guard, the Colorado State Patrol and the DPD, to determine what had been in their less-lethal arsenal.

Here's the information that public information officers provided:

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Adams County Sheriff's Office
Tear gas
Flash-bang grenades

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office
Did not deploy less-lethal munitions

Arvada Police Department*
Bean-bag rounds
Rubber-ball rounds
Foam bullets
Flash-bang grenades
Rubber-pellet grenades
Tear gas
Pepper-spray gas
*Same as the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, since the two agencies share the JeffCo Regional Tactical Team.

Aurora Police Department
Foam bullets
Bean-bag rounds
Tear gas
Pepper-spray grenades
Rubber-pellet grenades with tear gas
Rubber-pellet grenades with tear gas and flash-bang component

Brighton Police Department
Deferred to Commerce City Police Department, since they share a tactical team.

Broomfield Police Department
Pepper balls
Pepper spray

Colorado National Guard
Did not deploy less-lethal munitions

Colorado State Patrol
No response

Commerce City Police Department
No response

Denver Police Department
Pepper balls
Pepper spray
Tear gas
Smoke canisters
Foam bullets

Denver Sheriff Department
Rubber-pellet grenades
Bean-bag rounds
Tear gas
Pepper spray

Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Tear gas
Rubber-pellet grenades with tear gas
Rubber-pellet grenades with pepper spray
Foam bullets
Bean-bag rounds
Flash-bang grenades
40mm aerial warning rounds

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office*
Bean-bag rounds
Rubber-ball rounds
Foam bullets
Flash-bang grenades
Rubber-pellet grenades
Tear gas
Pepper-spray gas
*Same as Arvada Police Department, since the two agencies share the JeffCo Regional Tactical Team.

Lakewood Police Department
Did not deploy less-lethal munitions.

Westminster Police Department
Pepper spray
Foam bullets
Rubber-pellet grenades

Wheat Ridge Police Department
Did not deploy less lethal munitions

We'll update this list as we receive more information.

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