Fwd: Police sue pepper spray manufacturer

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 06:02:07 PDT

----Original Message Follows----
From: Eric Stewart <eds62167@hotmail.com>
To: under_the_gun@onelist.com, smiley_777@hotmail.com
Subject: Police sue pepper spray manufacturer
Date: Sun, 06 Jun 1999 07:02:51 PDT

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Police sue pepper spray manufacturer, Ottawa (fwd)


[National Post]

Wednesday, June 02, 1999

Ottawa police sue manufacturer of pepper spray Lawsuit in response to
legal action taken against force

Glen McGregor
Ottawa Citizen

In the first case of its kind in Canada, a police force is suing a
manufacturer of pepper spray, claiming the weapon may not be as
harmless as advertised.

The legal action taken by the Ottawa-Carleton Police Services Board
against Defense Technology Corporation of America marks the first time
a Canadian police force has suggested there may be possible safety
problems with the weapon, which causes painful burning sensation on
the skin and in the eyes.

The legal action against Defense Technology comes in response to a
lawsuit filed by an Ottawa man who was pepper sprayed by police in
July, 1995.

Jean-Paul Gravelle is suing the force and two police constables over
an incident in which police entered his apartment in search of a
suspect who had left a nearby restaurant without paying. Mr. Gravelle,
who was not the man police were looking for, was sprayed by one of the

According to his lawsuit, he continues to suffer from bronchial asthma
and reactive airways dysfunction syndrome as a result of the spraying.

The police have drawn Defense Technology into the suit, alleging that
any injuries sustained by Mr. Gravelle are the responsibility of the

They contend that the spray was supposed to be harmless, and if Mr.
Gravelle's injuries are legitimate, the legal responsibility lies with
Defense Technology.

"We were told that it has been tested and it is safe for use and won't
have any side effects," said Mark Charron, who represents the Police
Services Board and the two policemen named in the suit. "If Mr.
Gravelle is saying he suffered these side effects from the use of the
pepper spray, were saying we didn't know that would occur," Mr.
Charron said. "Basically, we were sold something we didn't think we
were buying."

The lawsuit claims Defense Technology failed to advise the police
about "the risk of injury to those persons being subjected to the use
of pepper spray under all foreseeable circumstance."

Company officials at Defense Technology's offices in Casper, Wyo.,
said they had not been served with the lawsuit yet, but denied there
is any safety problem with the product. "We know of tens of thousands
of times that these have been deployed without any incident," said
Dave Dubay, the company's director of research.

Mr. Dubay said that the active ingredient, oleoresin capsicum, is also
used in food products and pharmaceuticals.

Defense Technology is one of the largest suppliers of pepper spray to
law enforcement agencies in North America. The company manufactured
the spray used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to quash a
demonstration at the 1997 APEC summit in Vancouver.

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