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Maker of tear gas used on Washington, D.C., protesters will exit business

Maker of tear gas used on Washington, D.C., protesters will exit business

Protection contractor Safariland is exiting the enterprise of manufacturing tear fuel and different crowd-control weapons. The transfer comes amid intense scrutiny of police brutality, together with issues about what critics have decried as harsh crackdowns on peaceable protests over the death of George Floyd.

Safariland on Tuesday mentioned it is promoting its Protection Know-how unit, which makes rubber bullets, batons and stun grenades in addition to tear fuel. The unit is being bought to the corporate’s administration group, according to the announcement. No different phrases of the deal had been disclosed.

The choice by privately owned Safariland to cease promoting crowd-control merchandise follows a report by CBS MoneyWatch on Monday that the corporate made the tear gas used on protesters in Washington, D.C. Safariland and its distributors have had greater than $130 million in gross sales over the previous three and a half years from the U.S. authorities, the report famous.

Tear fuel had been an space of progress for Safariland, but it surely had additionally prompted turmoil for CEO Warren Kanders, who can be the corporate’s controlling shareholder. Kanders was pressured to quit the board of the Whitney Museum final yr following months of protests after it was revealed that Safariland’s tear fuel has been used on asylum seekers, together with kids, on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The highlight has additionally made it more durable for the corporate to draw buyers. Non-public fairness giants Blackstone and KKR ended their monetary relationships with the corporate following criticism of their ties to Safariland. 

Tear fuel is getting used on U.S. protesters: The place did it come from?

Safariland mentioned it’s promoting its Protection Know-how unit to refocus on its “passive defensive safety” merchandise, equivalent to physique armor and helmets for regulation enforcement. It didn’t cite any of the controversy round using tear fuel or the latest protests towards police brutality towards minority communities.

A spokesperson for Safariland confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch that Kanders and Safariland can have no stake within the tear fuel and rubber bullet unit as soon as it’s bought off. In a press launch, Safariland mentioned that Protection Know-how accounted for 8% of the corporate’s gross sales.

Kanders has additionally not too long ago confronted criticism for an absence of variety at one other certainly one of his companies. Along with main Safariland, Kanders is the manager chairman and largest shareholder of publicly traded sporting items firm Clarus. A lot of the firm’s income comes from mountaineering model Black Diamond, in keeping with FactSet. However the firm additionally owns ammunition maker Sierra Bullets and different smaller manufacturers.

Clarus didn’t return a request for remark for this story.

Final month, California pension fund big CalPERS recommended that Clarus shareholders vote towards re-electing Kanders and two different Claris board members partially due to an absence of variety within the firm’s management ranks. All three board members had been re-elected on the firm’s board assembly final week.

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