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NEWS: RCMP rejects use of sound cannons at G20 protests

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, “As Toronto Police prepare to show off their new ‘sound cannons’ at a Thursday news conference displaying gear for the G20 summit, the Mounties say they do not use the powerful devices against urban crowds.”

“(Julie) Gagnon (a spokesperson for the RCMP) had been asked whether Mounties consider LRADs safe. She (replied in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail) that ‘the RCMP does not use the LRAD as a crowd-control tool’ and also stated that an internal RCMP review ‘did not support the use of LRADs as crowd-control devices.'”


“’They can be set to induce pain,’ said Robert Harrison, a doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto who also works for the Hearing Foundation of Canada. ‘Any pain also means damages to the ear.’ He is aghast that LRADs could be used in a city. ‘We’re going to have another taser-like inquiry if these things are deployed at the level that they are capable of.’”

The Toronto Star reported last week that, “The volume (of the hand-held devices) can reach 135 decibels, which surpasses the pain threshold of 110 to 120.” The larger mounted-version can reach 143 decibels. “To compare, a normal conversation measures at about 60 decibels. The U.S. National Institute on Deafness says sustained noise above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage. …(Toronto police constable Wendy) Drummond acknowledges LRADs can cause permanent hearing damage if used improperly but says Toronto police are developing guidelines for deployment.”


The Canadian Press reported in media outlets across the country last week that, “The Council of Canadians said it would give away earplugs during the G20 to protect people from permanent hearing loss. ‘Saying a sound cannon is a tool for communications is like saying waterboarding isn’t torture, just a tool for encouraging dialogue,’ said spokesman Mark Calzavara. The devices are meant to ‘intimidate people and make them too scared to protest,’ he said.”