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August 05, 2003
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Pepper spray effectiveness - NIJ Report

The research team at NIJ has provided two new studies on the use of pepper spray in arrest situations. This research should be read by any training officer, legal officer or those interested in the effectiveness (and the liability) of using pepper spray to subdue uncooperative or combative suspects.

A summary of the research follows:

The North Carolina study found that the number of injuries to police officers and suspects declined after pepper spray was introduced. Complaints that the police used excessive force also declined.

The study of in-custody deaths concluded that pepper spray contributed to death in two of the 63 cases, both involving people with asthma. In the other cases, the researcher concluded that death was caused by the arrestee''s drug use, disease, positional asphyxia, or a combination of these factors.

The studies may be found at either of these sites:

Text Version:
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