Last week, Judge Posner wrote an opinion that talked about “flash bangs.” As Judge Posner wrote, these “are explosive devices, similar to but a good deal less lethal than military hand grenades.” They are “intended to stun and disorientate persons, thus rendering them harmless, by emitting blinding flashes of light and deafening sounds.”
Although “less lethal” weapons, they “can kill if they land on a person, especially a child.” While police call them “distraction devices,” Judge Posner called that “an absurd euphemism” and noted that he and other judges call them “bombs.”
Seattle Police used “blast balls” against peaceful protester at the 2015 May Day protests, leading to a lawsuit alleging excessive force. SPD also managed to burn a reporter’s foot with one of these grenades.
As Judge Posner wrote, flash bangs are “destructive and dangerous.” Their use “is reasonable only when there is a dangerous suspect” and “when the police have checked to see if innocent individuals are around before deploying the device.”