The City of St. Paul is considering banning items like bats, aerosol sprays and glass bottles at parades, races and other public assemblies.
St. Paul City Council President Amy Brendmoen is sponsoring the proposed ordinance, which was set to have its first reading at the Council's Feb. 17 meeting.
"It is imperative that individuals engaging in peaceful expressive public activity, and law enforcement personnel dedicated to protecting such activity, be allowed to do so without suffering injury," the ordinance says.
The proposal cites prior incidents in other cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul itself, as well as Berkeley, California, and Charlottesville, Virginia, where protests and public assemblies "erupted in violence" and led to "massive destruction of property and violence against law enforcement." In some instances, the proposal says, people were using "improvised weapons" to hurt others and carried "improvised shields to conceal illegal activity."
"The City of St. Paul has a compelling interest in allowing individuals to engage in peaceful expressive public activity, while at the same time protecting those individuals and law enforcement personnel dedicated to protecting that activity," the proposal says.
The proposed ordinance would ban various items that could be used as weapons, such as bats, aerosol sprays, tear gases and bear repellant, dangerous items (swords, bladed devices), projectile launchers, balloons, bottles and other containers that are filled with flammable liquid or bodily fluids, glass bottles, torches, bricks, rocks, pipes and shields (see the full list here).
A public hearing on the proposed ordinance hasn't been scheduled.