Police directives outline use of bicycle as weapon

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Greensboro police respond to a protest earlier this year.

At tonight’s Greensboro City Council meeting, at least one speaker during the public comment period claimed that she had been struck by a Greensboro police officer using his bicycle as a weapon.

Her comments reminded me of a copy of the police department’s directive I received as part of a much broader public-information request that specifically outlines when such a use is acceptable.

“A police bicycle is primarily issued to an officer as a mode of transportation while the officer is engaged in a specific assignment,” it reads. “When necessary however, a police bicycle may be used as an impact weapon. A bicycle is not intended to replace any other departmentally issued subject control equipment, but its use as such may be appropriate when the officer cannot safely or practically obtain one of his other weapons. Any use of a police bicycle as an impact weapon will conform to current methods and techniques, as approved by the Training Division.”

The introduction to the directive also states: “It is the policy of the Greensboro Police Department that no employee will be allowed to carry any weapons authorized for use by this directive until they have demonstrated proficiency in the use of these weapons.”

It’s possible that the document, dated June 10, 2015, has since been updated, but it still provides insight into whether such an action would be allowable under certain circumstances. The directive also explains rules regarding use of flashlights as weapons and the use of “chemical munitions,” batons, pepper spray and more.

On Sept. 25, Fox 46, WBTV and other outlets in Charlotte reported that a Greensboro police officer riding an ATV hit a protester with the vehicle. Local police said the collision was an accident, according to various news reports, but it prompted a question to TCB from an activist about whether such a use of force would be allowable. The Greensboro police directive makes no mention of ATVs, however.

Greensboro police officers deployed to Charlotte in the aftermath of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Triad City Beat is still waiting for more information regarding the deployment, but according to a Sept. 24 email from Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott — obtained by TCB — he authorized about 50 officers for a two-day deployment.

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