Wichita police use tear gas to subdue a crowd in Old Town last Friday. Police tell us it happened early Friday morning in the 200 block of N. Mosley. Officers fired a small canister of tear gas into a large crowd of people who weren't breaking up after closing time.
In an interview with Eyewitness News on Tuesday, Police spokesman Lt. Doug Nolte said the tear gas was effective.
Nolte says officers have had issues in the past with crowds not dispersing when asked to, and there were indications that this crowd was starting to get rowdy.
Officers decided to use the small canister of tear gas, which got the people in the crowd to move along.
"The officers were there, the supervisor on the scene felt there were not enough officers at the time to adequately dispel the disturbances, to deal with those," said Captain Max Tenbrook of Patrol South.
One person complained of tear gas irritation and was checked out on the scene by emergency crews. That person did not require a trip to the hospital.
Nolte said officers usually use mace to get a crowd to disperse because it is more effective. He says tear gas usually isn't as effective when used outside, especially when it's windy.
Suede Lounge owner Ed Banda says he supports police action if means keeping things safe.
"Nobody wants those incidents to happen. Wichita is growing and at the end of the day on any given night you have about 10,000 people out there. They're trying to disperse them for everybody to go home safely," said Banda.