LITTLE ROCK – The ACLU of Arkansas today condemned the use of tear gas, pepper balls, rubber bullets and military tactics against protesters demonstrating against police abuse and the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and urged state and local law enforcement to use de-escalation and community policing techniques rather than excessive, militarized responses.

Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas interim executive director and legal director made the following statement: 

“Tear gas has been banned in warfare and has no place in our communities. The outpouring of anger and frustration we’re seeing in our streets is a direct result of the epidemic of racial terror and police brutality that has been perpetrated against Black people for centuries. An aggressive and escalating militarized response by law enforcement threatens the lives and well-being of protesters and journalists, and reinforces the cycle of violence and brutality that spurred these protests in the first place.  We urge enforcement agencies to respect the constitutional rights of demonstrators, and use proven de-escalation and community policing tactics to protect the safety and well-being of our communities.” 

“In this moment of national civil uprising, elected officials – and all of us – have an obligation to confront and address the systemic racism that has terrorized Black communities and fueled a centuries-long scourge of police brutality and violence. The ACLU of Arkansas will remain committed to combating institutionalized racism and dismantling white supremacy once and for all.”