Educational materials from your friendly neighborhood anti-fascist

29 July 2020

Tear Gas Transcript

Tear Gas Zine Transcript

layout: post title: ‘Tear Gas for Portlanders Transcript’ tags: transcript —

Cover Page:

TITLE: Tear Gas for Portlanders

Rated PG-13 for: clean language, expressive pictures, and implied violations of human rights

Contains one (1) flawed chronology; manufactured with equipment that processes tree nuts

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD ANTIFACIST (FNAF): “you’re already paying for this; why not learn about it?”

Page One:

[ID: comic shows a person in black bloc and goggles using a water bottle to rinse out their eyes. Clouds of tear gas are visible in the background. They turn to directly face the reader, the elk statue is visible in the background.]

FNAF: “Oh! Sorry, didn’t see you there.”

FNAF: “It’s been pretty tense around here lately.”

FNAF: “You might have some questions.”

FNAF: “I’m your friendly neighborhood anti-facist, and I’m here to clear some of the up.”

Page Two:

[ID: on the right side of the page three boxes show the same masked person using heat proof gloves, a traffic cone, and a water bottle to neutralize a canister of tear gas. The top of pages two and three read “TEAR (CS) GAS”]

‘Tear gas’ is a broad category of substances that make the air spicy. Generally used in effort to make a crowd disperse. Common effects include: loss of vision, tearing; excessive salivation.

Chemical irritants categorized as ‘tear gas’ include: OC gas, in forms like pepper spray, pepper balls, pepper grenades. Tearing effect due to capsaicin from peppers (1).

FNAF: “is this tear gas organic?”

CN gas, also sold as Mace. The most toxic of the commonly used tear gases, popularity has fallen since the 50s in favor of the perhaps quintessential tear gas: CS GAS.

Page Three:

[ID: a gloved hand holds a canister of CS gas with writing on it.]

CS gas is actually a solid, so it’s dispersed as a powder, usually with the pyrotechnic power of a grenade or pressurized canister. This powder adheres to oil and moisture, which is why makeup, sunscreen and contacts are a bad idea (2). The powder settles on surfaces and can be active five days after dispersal.

[ID: FNAF leans against a light post, coughing and wheezing]

FNAF: “CS gas and every other form of tear gas has been banned in warfare under multiple treaties, the first being the 1925 Geneva convention (3). The CDD recommends you seal all clothing that has been exposed to tear gas in bags, and have professionals dispose of them (4). Practical advice: Leave shoes outside for multiple days; Wash clothing at least two times; Take a cold shower (hot water reactivates); Hydrate.”

Page Four:

TITLE: Tear Gas and the Portland Police Bureau

[ID: The top right shows a drawing of the Portland Police Bureau badge, underneath small boxes depict images from previous protests where the police used tear gas.]

This is not the first time the PPB as used tear gas on protesters:

[protests] against Bush (2002) (5). Pepper spray at Occupy (2011) (6). Post-election (2016) (7). Post inauguration (2017) (8).

Cost: On June first, PPB spent fifty thousand dollars, twenty thousand dollars of it directly on chemical munitions. It’s hard to tell how much they’ve spent overall (9).


OREGON LAW: “ A person commits the crime of riot if while participating with five or more persons the person engages in tumultuous and violent conduct…” (10).

Justification: PPB claims they must use tear gas, because:

PPB DEPUTY CHIEF CHRIS DAVIS: “If it’s the choice between using CS gas and a fatality…” (11).

Where is their evidence that this is the case?

Page Five:

[ID: page shows a timeline starting in march with each event written in order of date]

TITLE: Partial Chronology (16,17, 18)

Page Six:

[ID: across the top of pages 6 and 7 title reads: OUTRAGE PAGE]

FNAF: “cataloging specifically tear gas related crimes against Portlanders!”


General (2): Eyes fill with ears, nose runs, salivation. Burning pain in eyes and nose; Difficulty breathing. Inflammation of lungs. Miscarriage, potentially menstrual irregularites…among many more (21, 22). Canister: severe burns, head injuries (potentially fatal) (23). Long Term Effects: Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS, asthma mimic but unresponsive to treatment) (13); Chest pain, coughing, breathing difficulty for weeks (19); If gas released in confined space: death (20)


Reported lung inflammation, asthma attacks. Tear gas in particular is an equity issue in that, even when the PPB announces they will use tear gas before they release it, they don’t leave time for sign language interpreters to relay the message, or for people who cannot run to leave the area; this effectively silences the voices of many people who have a right to make themselves heard (24). This is not to mention the numerous injuries PPB inflicts on protesters.

Page 7:


Tear gas is released downtown with no regard or the safety of houseless people. Tear gas has impacted nearby drivers (27). Tear gas has seeped into residential homes; kids and pets vulnerable (28,29). Tear gas or smoke bombs have been released around city buses. Multiple members of the press have been arrested at protests; press and legal observers are tear gassed (25, 26).


Impacts of tear gas are worsened in the era of COVID-19 because: Tear gas caused cough, a top vector (31). Tear gas makes people stop following social distancing guidelines, as they remove masks and justly prioritize taking care of each other. Tear gas irritates the respiratory system, possibly increasing susceptibility to COVID-19 and worsening existing cases (32). Droplets propelled by tear gas grenades are approximately the size of COVID-19 transmitters (33).

Activity Section:

discover and record your own crimes against humanity! [ID: lines provided to complete activity]

Page Eight:

FNAF: “pass it along: this is not okay. The cops don’t have to use tear gas. Their use of it in the middle of a respiratory pandemic shows they do not have the welfare of any Portlander in mind.”

FNAF: “This is happening because a critical mass of Portlanders took the “bold stance” of proclaiming that Black lies matter and we must end police brutality. Portland has a nasty history of racial injustice, and protesting can’t fix that. However, by showing up and speaking out we can improve pdx’s future.”

Action Items:

Learn: Read Don’t Shoot Portland’s tear gas report, and their other work. Educate yourself about racism, police and prison abolition, ableism and sex work decriminalization, and impacts of colonialism. Follow local journalists. Follow local activists and organizers.

Donate: to mutual aid funds. To bail funds: the PDX protest bail fund GoFundMe; Defense fun PDX venmo @defensfundpdx. To independent journalists: tinyurl.com/yaz3kdbl. Support each other.

Speak: Head out into your community and exercise your first amendment rights: pdx-blm-events.com and streets and inboxes near you.

FNAF: “thanks for reading. See you next time!”


  1. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. (2020). Riot Control Agents: Systemic Reassessment of Adverse effects on Health, Mental Stability, and Social inequities. Published June 26th, 2020 Pg 9
  2. Sandra Gutierrez, “What to Do If You’re Exposed to Tear Gas,” Popular Science, November 19, 2019, https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/tear-gas-guide/.
  3. “Practice Relating to Rule 75. Riot Control Agents,” Customary IHL (International Committee of the Red Cross), accessed July 18, 2020, https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_cha_chapter24_rule75.
  4. “Facts About Riot Control Agents Interim Document.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, April 4, 2018. https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/riotcontrol/factsheet.asp.
  5. Busse, Phil. “‘Police Pepper Sprayed My Baby!”.” Portland Mercury, 2002. https://www.portlandmercury.com/news/police-pepper-sprayed-my-baby/Content?oid=27483.
  6. Martin, Adam. “Dramatic Portland Pepper Spray Photo Was a Total Accident.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, October 30, 2013. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/dramatic-portland-pepper-spray-photo-was-total-accident/335283/.
  7. Domonoske, Camila. “Anti-Trump Protest In Portland, Ore., Turns Destructive, Declared A Riot.” NPR. NPR, November 11, 2016. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/11/501685976/anti-trump-protest-in-portland-ore-turns-destructive-declared-a-riot.
  8. The Oregonian/OregonLive. “Portland Protest: Demonstrators Disperse after Police Warnings.” oregonlive. The Oregonian, January 21, 2017. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2017/01/inauguration_day_in_portland_p.html.
  9. Thomas, Keaton, and KATU Staff. “PPB Spent Thousands on Chemical Munitions Shortly after George Floyd Protests Began.” KATU. KATU, June 30, 2020. https://katu.com/news/following-the-money/portland-police-bureau-spent-thousands-on-chemical-munitions-shortly-after-george-floyd-protests-began.
  10. “ORS 166.015 Riot,” Oregon. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.015
  11. Zielinski, Alex, and Wm. Steven Humphrey. “For Portland Police, Indiscriminate Use of Tear Gas During Protests Is Unavoidable.” Portland Mercury, 2020. https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/09/28619713/for-portland-police-indiscriminate-use-of-tear-gas-is-unavoidable.
  12. Don’t Shoot Portland et al v. City of Portland, 3:20-cv-00917 (Justia, June 9, 2020).https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/oregon/ordce/3:2020cv00917/152816/29
  13. Riski, Tess. “Oregon Legislature Passes Package of Police Reform Bills as Special Session Ends.” Willamette Week, 2020. https://www.wweek.com/news/state/2020/06/26/oregon-legislature-passes-package-of-police-reform-bills-as-special-session-ends/.
  14. Levinson, Jonathan. “Federal Officers Shoot Portland Protester In Head With ‘Less Lethal’ Munitions.” Oregon Public Broadcasting. OPB, July 17, 2020. https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-officers-portland-protester-shot-less-lethal-munitions/.
  15. Olmos, Sergio, Mike Baker, and Zolan Kanno-youngs. “Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland.” The New York Times. The New York Times, July 17, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/us/portland-protests.html.
  16. Flanigan, Kaitlin. “TIMELINE: 50 Days of Portland Protests.” KOIN.com. KOIN.com, July 18, 2020. https://www.koin.com/news/protests/timeline-50-days-of-portland-protests/.
  17. KGW Staff. “Portland Protests: Nonviolent Gatherings and Unlawful Assemblies in the Wake of George Floyd’s Death.” kgw.com, June 1, 2020. https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/protests/protests-in-portland/283-21d67e10-4b33-46d4-a81e-7d3b437a7519.
  18. Sal, and Audrey. “Re: Portland.” Recompiler mag, July 20, 2020. https://pdx.recompilermag.com/.
  19. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 13
  20. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 20
  21. Chauhan, Dhruvi, Puala Kibuka, and Goleen Samari. “Using Tear Gas on Protesters Perpetuates Patterns of Reproductive Harm.” TheHill. The Hill, June 28, 2020. https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/504699-using-tear-gas-on-protesters-perpetuates-patterns-of-reproductive-harm.
  22. Stunson, Mike. “Protesters Complain of Unexpected Side Effect from Tear Gas: Period Changes.” thenewstribune. Tacoma News Tribune, July 14, 2020. https://amp.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/national/article244212707.html
  23. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 6-7
  24. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg pg 21-22
  25. Billings, Althea. “KBOO Volunteer Reporters Arrested at Protest.” KBOO, July 1, 2020. https://kboo.fm/blog/81643.
  26. Humphrey Jul 1, Wm. Steven. “Good Morning, News: Portland Police Arrest Three Journalists at Protest; Violate Tear Gas Ban.” Portland Mercury, July 1, 2020. https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/07/01/28594180/good-morning-news-portland-police-arrest-three-journalists-at-protest-violate-tear-gas-ban.
  27. Bailey, Everton, and Jim Ryan. “Portland Police Call Tuesday Protest ‘Riot,’ Release Tear Gas on Crowd, Drivers.” oregonlive. The Oregonian, July 2, 2020. https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/06/portland-protests-to-continue-for-34th-straight-day-tuesday.html.
  28. Riski, Tess. “When Police Deploy Tear Gas on Protesters, It Leaks Into the Homes of Portlanders.” Willamette Week, July 8, 2020. https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/07/08/when-police-deploy-tear-gas-on-protesters-it-leaks-into-the-homes-of-portlanders/.
  29. Jensen, Latisha. “Downtown Portland Resident Files Legal Claim Against City for Filling Her Apartment With Tear Gas.” Willamette Week, June 29, 2020. https://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2020/06/28/downtown-portland-resident-files-legal-claim-against-city-for-filling-her-apartment-with-tear-gas/.
  30. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 3, 23
  31. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 2
  32. Stone, Will. “Tear-Gassing Protesters During An Infectious Outbreak Called ‘A Recipe For Disaster’.” NPR. NPR, June 5, 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/05/870144402/tear-gassing-protesters-during-an-infectious-outbreak-called-a-recipe-for-disast.
  33. Morman, A., Williams, Z., Smith, D., Randolph A.C. Pg 15

Thanks To: Don’t Shoot Portland’s “Riot Control Agents: Systemic Reassessment of Adverse effects on Health, Mental Stability, and Social Inequalities”