In Reference to Teargas and Media Distortion


There’s a discussion going on right now, that the use of CS gas or Teargas is somehow a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention signed in 1993. The fact is that Article II of the CWC specifically exempts law enforcement use of teargas for the explicit purposes of domestic riot control.

Even more specifically, take a look at:

Article II, Section 7 which defines, “Riot Control Agent” as, “Any chemical not listed in a Schedule, which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.”

Article II, Section 9 which lists under “Purposes Not Prohibited Under this Convention” in reference to subsection D, “Law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes.”


What’s more, in the debate over police overreaction and excessive force, what sense does it make to limit the less lethal options of riot police? Would the media rather prefer that officers go hands on with every person visibly committing crimes? For the record, Missouri Statute, 574.060 states, “A person commits the crime of refusal to disperse if, being present at the scene of an unlawful assembly, or at the scene of a riot, he knowingly fails or refuses to obey the lawful command of a law enforcement officer to depart from the scene of such unlawful assembly or riot.”


Would the detractors of teargas want riot police using a collapsible or riot baton on every person who violently resists arrest? What about Tasers? Really, WHAT should be done to arrest violent protesters as far as the media is concerned because for every criticism hidden beneath a mask of outrage over supposed abuses, there is no counter response for what the talking heads feel should be done in reference to the rioting.

Oh, that’s right, it’s a non-issue because the media has been denying the extent and frequently even the existence of rioting and looting. Jon Stewart’s entire program on 8/26/2014 was a discussion of the events in Ferguson and he didn’t use the word, “Riot” or “Loot” one single time. That level of dishonesty is disgraceful even from a comedian who straddles the line between news and parody. What’s more, up until this week, I was actually a fan of the Daily Show. No longer.

Part of me thinks that a large number of people present during these incidents, specifically including the media, would like to be present for the photo opportunity that an actual forceful escalation would present. When the story has already been preordained to condemn every single action the police take, it’s impossible to be justified in a court of public opinion biased by outright lies.

Where is the reporting of the people who have been killed or injured during the supposedly “peaceful” nighttime protests, be they protester, officer, or media? Where are those numbers? Where are those statistics? If the rioting and looting described in my posts, Dissonance and Bloody Sunday are evidence of what Jon Stewert called on Tuesday the community handling their plight “with grace” then the conversation is already over because the talking heads are so out of touch with the reality on the ground that they literally have no idea what’s been happening.

henry davis1

While I’m referencing Jon Stewert, he and John Oliver have been having a good laugh over what happened to Henry M. Davis while in police custody within the Ferguson Police Department, which admittedly looks awful when presented by both comedians. In their side of the story, a black man was in custody and was severely beaten for no reason while handcuffed.  One of the officers later attempted to file property damage charges on Davis for getting blood on their uniforms.  However, there are a number of facts that both comedians failed to include, such as that the use of force occurred during a brawl in which Davis broke an officer’s nose.

The broken nose is even referenced in Davis’ own account though he claims it occurred by some random coincidence while an officer was pushing him back into a cell:

Christian Northeast Hospital confirms the nasal fracture of the officer:

Furthermore, paramedics responded to the jail but were unable to treat Davis because he “was yelling and screaming profanities.” Officers instead took Davis to the emergency room themselves. At the hospital, Davis refused medical treatment and refused to sign a refusal document. He later checked himself into SSM Healthcare the following day and was diagnosed with a scalp laceration and a concussion without loss of consciousness.  Apparently his injuries weren’t exactly as severe as implied.

Now, does this mean that excessive force wasn’t used? No. However, this story, which in no way involves Ofc. Darren Wilson, is being repeatedly brought up by the media to hang him. Even if the officers did use excessive force and lost their tempers, which I will grant the punitive property damage claims in reference to their uniforms does seem to indicate, why not present all of the facts? Why continue to distort a story that would be just as compelling if officers beat a drunk because he broke an officer’s nose than the media version where officers attacked an unarmed man for no reason?

For the record, if the injuries didn’t come as a result of Davis drunkenly brawling with officers and he was simply beat on for no other reason than because of his race, then the officers should absolutely be held criminally and civilly liable for their actions.  However, ethics require that the media still has to tell the whole story.  Just because you want a result doesn’t mean that you get to lie, leave out facts, and distort the truth to make your side more palatable.  That comment is in reference to far more than Henry Davis.

EDIT 9/1/2014:
One more thing I forgot to cover.  The media has been claiming that Davis was arrested for warrants that turned out to belong to another individual named Henry Davis, thus making the arrest illegal.  This is an outright lie.  The court documents linked above show that he was arrested for DWI.  There was a discrepancy over warrants but it was a moot point once discovered because he was already under arrest for DWI.


One thought on “In Reference to Teargas and Media Distortion

  1. Great post. I have also been outraged over the lack of information being put out by the media about the number of injuries and property damage that has occurred during the “peaceful protests” in Ferguson. It seems that reporting on that would give a little more credence to the very difficult situation police in Ferguson have been made to deal with and would detract from the whole “evil cop” narrative.


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