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Radio News: Judge says police LRAD is a sound weapon

Jun 04, 2017 10:47 pm

The New York Times reports that on May 31 a federal judge ruled that the sound the Long Range Acoustic Devices used by New York City police against protesters emits a form of force. In effect, Judge Robert Sweet of the Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that the LRADs are weapons as well as communication devices. Police use them sometimes as loudspeakers, to make announcements to protesters. But at 1 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2014, the police used a 100X Long Range Acoustic Device to make a series of sharp, piercing beeps directed at the Black Lives Matter protest in Manhattan. Use of the device, “as a projector of powerfully amplified sound is no different than other tools in law enforcement’s arsenal that have the potential to be used either safely or harmfully, one example being distraction devices — items like stun grenade, flash bang, or concussion grenades,” Judge Robert Sweet of Federal District Court in Manhattan wrote, adding, “It can be plausibly inferred that the use of a high-powered sound magnifier in ‘close proximity’ to plaintiffs was not appropriate.” The judge did agree with New York City's lawyers that the use of the device did not violate First and Fourth Amendment rights. Instead the judge said the protesters had a “cognizable claim” that the excessive use of force violated their 14th Amendment rights, so their suit against the city and two members of the Police Department’s Disorder Control Unit will continue.
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