The NYPD has been using so-called "sound cannons" on anti-police brutality protesters during recent demonstrations.
Videos (below) shot on Dec. 4 in New York City show the NYPD using Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) on protesters, noted AlterNet.org.
Attorneys representing some of those protesters wrote a letter to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton about the use of LRADs and asked for the department's guidelines.
"This is not a precision tool," Gideon Oliver, one of the lawyers, told The Gothamist. "This is an area-of-effect weapon. When the police use it, it’s not as if they’re just targeting one person. It’s indiscriminate like teargas.”
The LRAD website states: "LRAD provides military personnel with a powerful, penetrating warning tone that can be followed by clear voice broadcasts in host nation languages to warn and shape the behavior of potential threats. This advance in early guaranteed communication is critical in defining next steps -- stand down or move to a more aggressive stance."
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According to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, the LRAD can get as loud as 162 decibels, while 130 decibels is considered "the average pain threshold for most humans."
“The idea that the NYPD has a weapon that can cause permanent hearing damage and is willing to use it on peaceful demonstrators definitely has a chilling effect on people’s First Amendment rights,” anti-police brutality activist Keegan Stephan told The Gothamist. “It’s going to make me want to leave or limit my involvement the minute I see that thing out. I don’t want to be in that beam.”