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Citing Berkeley and Charlottesville , LA moves to ban drones, torches and more at protests

In reaction to violent protests that broke out recently in Charlottesville, Berkeley and other places, Los Angeles city leaders are now looking into banning pepper spray, pipes, bricks and other items from protests and other so-called “First Amendment” public assemblages.

The City Council voted Tuesday to request that the City Attorney prepare an ordinance banning more than a dozen items, including “open flame torches,” spray paint cans, projectile launchers, and balloons filed with anything other than air, oxygen or helium.

Also on the list are drones, tasers and containers of “biological toxic waste” and anything that is “caustic, corrosive, abrasive or flammable.”

The proposed ordinance stems from motion authored by Councilman Mitchell Englander that calls for ways Los Angeles could react to recent protests happening nationwide.

“When First Amendment events occur in the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department is responsible for ensuring that a peaceful and safe demonstration ensues,” Englander wrote. “It is also their responsibility to maintain and/or restore order if necessary in order to protect the public at large.”

He cited the violence that often erupted between opposing groups at protests in Charlottesville, Berkeley and St. Louis.

“As we have seen in demonstrations around the country, these events are becoming violent more frequently,” he wrote. “We are seeing devices such as poles, sticks, signs, as well as certain types of containers including glass bottles and many other items used as improvised weapons thus resulting in injuries and property damage.”

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