Phoenix police's non-lethal arsenal on display during Trump protest

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Phoenix police have an arsenal of non-lethal weapons at their disposal to break up crowds.

Here are a few that were used during the chaos Tuesday outside the rally for President Donald Trump.

Smoke canisters and tear gas

Officers rolled several canisters that emitted clouds of smoke or gas. Smoke is just visual; tear gas is a chemical that irritates the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs of people nearby. Technically, “tear gas” is not a gas – it’s made entirely of tiny, solid particles.

[RELATED: Protester hit by gas round talks about his exchange with Phoenix police]

Visually, the canisters and clouds are virtually identical, said retired Tempe SWAT officer Kevin Boontjer.

“They’re typically the same size canister. The only thing that’s different are the markings,” he said.

The similarities are intentional. Officers will often deploy smoke first, hoping to scare off members of the crowd without exposing bystanders or themselves to the unpleasant, and sometimes harmful, effects of gas.

[MORE: Activists: Police were aggressive, violent after Trump rally]

“We just want to get people out of there. So if we think smoke is going to achieve that objective, we'll throw some canisters of smoke out there, [and] people think it's gas. If we get rid of half our crowd or more, we've achieved our objective, right?” he said.

Flash bangs

Also referred to as flash grenades, these diversionary devices produce a bright flash and loud explosive sound. The sound is about 170 dB: about 32 times louder than a rock concert.

Pepper-spray projectiles

Phoenix police used at least two types of pepper-spray projectiles Tuesday night. One is commonly referred to as a pepper ball. These rounds look like paintballs and contain oleoresin capsicum, the active ingredient in pepper spray. The rounds are launched from a modified paintball gun.

[RELATED: Phoenix PD release more details on protests, arrests outside Trump's rally in Phoenix]

In the now-viral case where a protester got hit with a round between the legs, officers used a larger, but similar, launcher.

“It appears that the projectile that struck that particular person was one of the larger pepper balls that are disbursed from a different-style system,” said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard.

[RAW VIDEO: Police, mayor talk about post-rally violence]

[RELATED: 4 arrested, 2 officers suffer heat exhaustion after protest turns unruly outside Trump rally]

Enhanced video shows the gas round had an orange tip, and appears to be what’s called a sponge round. These rounds can contain either pepper spray or dye to mark protesters. In this case, it appeared to contain pepper spray.

“That is similar to a pepper ball gun, it's just a larger round,” said Boontjer. “It's probably out of a 37 mm or 40 mm gun.”

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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