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Recalling Waco, Ex-Seattle Police Chief Questions Using Incendiary Tear Gas in Dorner Case

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Published on Feb 15, 2013

To watch the entire interview with Norm Stamper on Democracy Now!, visit http://owl.li/hKYiy. The fire that killed former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner on Tuesday has drawn comparisons to the deadly 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, and the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia. In Waco, federal agents denied for years they had used incendiary tear gas after a fire killed 76 people inside the compound. The MOVE bombing left six adults and five children dead. We speak to former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper. In the extended interview, we also speak with Radley Balko, author of the forthcoming book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."

TRANSCRIPT
Norm Stamper: If you think about the names applied to this particular weaponry — pyrotechnic, incendiary, burners — those all suggest that these devices do in fact start fires. The first thing I thought yesterday and certainly on Wednesday was Branch Davidian and the absolute necessity to learn from these experiences. SWAT officers typically have at their command the use of and frequently do employ so-called flash bangs or concussion grenades. They are cased in paper or soft plastic. They're not known for starting fires. But what they can do is create great disorientation in the barricaded suspect. I am surprised that that particular technology was not used. And I think it is vital to understand that unless these officers knew for certain that there were no hostages in that cabin, that the use of the pyrotechnics is doubly questionable.

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