U.S. District Judge Richard Jones acted wisely in barring Seattle Police from using tear gas and other forceful crowd-control measures against peaceful demonstrators. His eloquent ruling June 12 showed keen attention to the urgency of demands for racial justice and the constitutional rights to speak and assemble freely.
The decision was a meaningful step toward de-escalating confrontations between protesters and police. Its consequences have reverberated powerfully. On June 15, after Jones blocked tear gas for two weeks, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a permanent ban on it and other crowd-control weaponry. Then the city agreed June 17 to an injunction blocking tear gas use through September. By then, the council’s prohibition will have taken effect.