Capsicum spray can be lethal, law group warns

December 22nd, 2009 - 1:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Dec. 22 (ANI): The Federation of Community Legal Centres has said that capsicum spray, which is used to subdue trouble makers can be lethal and can make a volatile situation worse.

Hugh de Kretser, a representative of the law group, said the spray could be useless against a person who was in a highly aggressive or agitated state as they did not feel the pain.

Instead of diffusing the situation, the spray then escalated the incident into a conflict and could lead to a higher risk of death, news.com.au quoted him, as saying.

“People call it a non-lethal option, but that’s completely inappropriate,” Mr de Kretser said.

“We call it a less-than-lethal option because there is a risk of death,” he added.

He said capsicum spray was introduced as an alternative to lethal force, but reliance on the weapon had crept up to the degree where it figured in 73 per cent of documented scenarios where Victorian police used force.

His comments came as an investigation continues into the death of a 29-year-old man in police custody last night.

The man was found dead in the back of a police divisional van at Dandenong police station, in Melbourne’s south, after he had been arrested and sprayed with the chemical device. (ANI)

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