On 6/29/20 KOIN reported that the Portland Police Bureau spent $50k on chemical munitions at the start of that month, after George Floyd’s death. Going through the invoices, we can find an inventory of what PPB may have on hand to deploy at protests. Photos from protest attendees of the spent cartridges and canisters provide additional information. Products are often labeled with different colors of writing that can be used to distinguish them even if the words are no longer legible.
Impact munitions include things we might describe as rubber or foam bullets, bean bags, and rubber shot (small pellets packed in a cartridge). Impact munitions can also contain chemical agents or paint (marker rounds). These are shot from a 40mm launcher that looks somewhat like a paintball gun.
Tear gas is a category of chemical agents that cause severe physical pain and breathing difficulties, as well as other health impacts. It can be deployed from a cartridge, canister, or grenade. The chemicals most often used are CS, CN, and OC (like pepper spray).
“The OC Triple-Chaser® Pyrotechnic Grenade is one of our first-ever pyrotechnic grenades that combines the effectiveness of Oleoresin Capsicum…as an irritant and inflammatory agent…”https://t.co/dl55NfXHpz— e c o n o m y b r e a k f a s t (@econbrkfst) July 6, 2020
Dousing in water caused some discoloration.https://t.co/YcL71fM9DT pic.twitter.com/zW8wHhyrYv
Scavenger hunt tips: after the “Han-Ball” rounds go off they look like this. These are from the justice center a few nights ago. pic.twitter.com/oWdkkA69Gq— 45th ןǝןןɐɹɐd ʇsıpɹnsqɐ ǝpɐbıɹq (@45thabsurdist) June 26, 2020
Some of the canisters and grenades use smoke instead of other chemicals. These smokes are available in several colors, and yellow is common. Smoke is not generally considered a chemical munition like tear gas, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to breathe.
Police also are equipped with hand-held OC sprays. These have a reach of 10-15 feet away.