NYPD agrees to limits on sound cannons, ending 5-year battle

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NYPD officer holds sound cannon

A police officer holds a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), or sound cannon, as they block protestors on a march through Times Square during a protest against a grand jury’s decision on Monday not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in New York. The grand jury’s decision has inflamed racial tensions across the U.S. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department has agreed to limit its use of sound cannons on crowds, ending a five-year legal battle over claims that the devices caused hearing damage, dizziness and migraines.

In a settlement agreement filed in federal court on Monday, the police department said it will no longer use an “alert tone” setting in which the devices emit a series of sharp, painful beeps to disperse crowds.

The department is still permitted to use handheld and vehicle-mounted sound cannons to make announcements and play recorded messages, but must make reasonable efforts to do so at a safe distance, according to the agreement.

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