The LA Podcast

Does the LAPD Use Tear Gas Or Not?

by Hayes Davenport
June 14, 2020

On Friday, in an interview with The Appeal, Mayor Garcetti was asked if he would push to ban the use of tear gas by LAPD. He replied:

“Yeah, we don’t use tear gas so we don’t need to, and it’s not part of our policy, and we don’t have that. We haven’t done that in over 50 years.”

Here’s video of what he said.

He seems kind of PO’d that he’s even being asked about this. Who can blame him? Tear gas is banned by the Geneva Convention for use in war. If I were falsely accused of using tear gas I would probably be upset. And Garcetti knocks down the entire premise with three very direct statements.

  1. It’s not part of our policy.
  2. We don’t have that.
  3. We don’t use tear gas/We haven’t done that in over 50 years.

But these statements… are they true?


A week ago, the LAPD released a statement clarifying their Use of Force Policy in response to “numerous community inquiries” (presumably including the in-person community inquiries we’ve seen in videos of people asking officers why they are shooting them and hitting them with batons).

The statement, helpfully, contains the department’s “policy on CHEMICAL AGENTS” (caps theirs). Here it is:

The use of any Department approved chemical agent during a crowd control incident requires the approval of a commander or above. Chemical agents include CS gas, CN gas, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), and all tear gas canisters. Before using any chemical agent, tactical consideration should be given to wind direction, safety equipment for officers, and the potential non-effectiveness of the chemical agent.

So: is it part of their policy? Yes.


In their eternal quest to be respected by two-year-olds, the LAPD is the only major city police department that has a webpage with pictures of all of their guns and cars and stuff. For example:

“But do they have Thor motorcross uniform?”

But what about tear gas?

That is tear gas. Specifically a kind of tear gas that burns at a very high temperature. They also have OC gas canisters, which is the kind of chemical pepper spray is made of and, also, is tear gas.

So, do they have it? Yes, they have it just as much as they have Thor motorcross uniform.


In the same statement where they highlighted their Use of Force policy above, the LAPD says they didn’t use any tear gas during the recent protests. Other law enforcement agencies definitely did. The LA Sheriff’s Department definitely did. Beverly Hills PD definitely did. Unclear who used it here, but LAPD says they didn’t.

But do they?

Here’s a screenshot from an Officer-Involved Shooting report from 2015.

Here’s one from an LA Daily News article from 2018.

Here’s a 2012 photo from the California National Guard’s Flickr page (fun) showing LAPD officers training a National Guard unit in how to use the tear gas, something the Mayor says they do not use or have, for riot control.

And finally, here’s an AP article from six days ago.

So, do they use it? Yes. Have they used it in the last 50 years? Yes. Have they used it in the last this week? Maybe.

Let’s bring back those statements one more time, but revised for accuracy:

  1. It is part of their policy.
  2. They do have that.
  3. They do use tear gas/They have done that in less than 50 years.

If anyone is reading this who is friends with the Mayor, please get him this information before he makes this embarrassing mistake again! Thank you!