Our Stories. Our Health. Calls On Gov. Walz To Ban Law Enforcement Use Of Chemical Weapons And "Less Lethal" Projectiles
The health advocacy group is asking the Governor to stop the use of these weapons against civilians all across Minnesota
April 16, 2021
SAINT PAUL, MN – Today, progressive health advocacy organization Our Stories. Our Health. released the following statement:
"Our Stories. Our Health. calls on Governor Walz to ban the use of chemical weapons and so-called “less lethal” projectiles by law enforcement against the civilian population in Minnesota.
"As noted in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article, these weapons can and do cause lasting injury and illness. Projectiles cause permanent physical injury including traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and loss of vision. Tear gas, which is actually a powder, is dispersed through a combustible canister that can injure people as a propellant, explosive, or with tactile burns. The chemical irritant itself causes not only pain but also inflammation of the airways which can lead to acute and chronic exacerbation of lung disease including asthma. These weapons of war cause lasting and unpredictable harm. State sanctioned use of violence both directly and indirectly harms the health of Minnesotans. This is especially true now, as the use of tear gas can increase the spread of COVID-19.
"Furthermore, police violence predominantly against Black Minnesotans is a continuation of the legacy of institutional racism in our state and must end in all forms.
"During the past week, Minnesota law enforcement officers have deployed these weapons against protestors in a residential neighborhood, affecting the families and young children living in the area. This has led to direct injury and lasting trauma. Though he is on-the-record in support of these tactics, we ask him to immediately reverse course, follow the guidelines banning chemical weapons as laid out in the Geneva Convention, and commit to protecting the health of Minnesotans."
Our Stories. Our Health. is a 501(c)4 organization dedicated to changing the healthcare conversation in Minnesota through collected storytelling, online organizing, and education and advocacy programs. You can learn more by visiting http://www.ourstoriesourhealth.org.