Richard Wooten, a retired Chicago police officer and president of the Gathering Point Community Council, visited Lexington, Kentucky testing a weapon that he hopes can be used by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to reduce the number of deadly police shootings in the nation’s third largest city.
Wooten is receiving training on The Pepperball, a weapon that fires paint-like projectiles filled with a non-lethal high concentrated dose of pepper spray that burst on impact. The gun works off of chemical ink kinetic energy and can deployed at ranges up to 35 feet at speeds of about 30-37 mph.
Chicago has garnered international headlines for the alarming number of fatal shootings involving police.
Wooten, who served for 23 years as CPD officer before retiring last summer, has been one of the leading experts working to improve relations between police and the community. He is also one of the most outspoken critics calling on the CPD to address the use of deadly force. A few weeks ago, he hosted a meeting for retired black police officers with the Department of Justice. Now, he is taking extra steps to make sure the fatal police shootings are drastically reduced by alternative weaponry.
"The Chicago community has lost complete trust in the Chicago Police Department,” Wooten says. “This Pepperball gun offers a solution to reduce the deadly force cases involving police. During my training, I will get to test this product which is being used by many law enforcement departments. My goal is to present to the CPD one additional option that can protect officers and save lives.”