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November 25, 2011 6:53 AM

Charlotte rules limit use of pepper spray for protests

If Charlotte-Mecklenburg police follow their rules, they won't resort to pepper spray if confronted with nonviolent protesters at next year's Democratic National Convention. CMPD "directives," or rules that guide police behavior, also say that OC spray - short for oleoresin capsicum, the formal name for pepper spray - should not be used unless there's "an imminent threat" to the officer or to someone's safety. When police should and should not use this aerosol irritant, which can cause temporary blindness, coughing and a restriction in breathing, has become the subject of national debate with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement - and law enforcement's reaction to it. Police in New York, Denver, Seattle and Portland, Ore., have been widely criticized for trying to control Occupy crowds by using the spray, which gets its power from an inflammatory agent found naturally in cayenne and many other kinds of pepper

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