Occupy Wall Street supporters have blasted the New York Police Department’s use of Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) against protesters throughout Manhattan on Thursday.
“So it’s official: NYPD is using LRAD sound cannons. Usually used during combat, they send harmful, pain inducing tones over long distances,” tweeted the Occupied Wall Street Journal on Twitter.
“LRAD works according to the same principle as that old Memorex commercial. Your skull is the wine glass and the cops are Ella Fitzgerald,” tweeted Anon Street Medics.
Photos (above) of an LRAD being carried around by an NYPD officer were snapped by Joshua Paul, an Android developer on the ground during Thursday’s clashes.
But the San Diego-based LRAD Corporation claims that its products aren’t weapons at all, but rather “communication devices” which are superior to alternatives such as the trusty old megaphone.
“The police are likely using it to communicate,” with the protesters, said Scott Stuckey, Vice President for Business Development at the LRAD Corporation, in a telephone interview with TPM. “Megaphones aren’t loud enough to reach people over a large, crowded space, with lots of background noise.”
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been circulating LRAD-blocking strategies online, ranging from using a flat object to reflect the sound back at the devices and their operators, to buying Air Force-grade ear plugs.