Protesters surrounded by tear gas

Alexandros Michailidis/ShutterStock Combined Systems (Licensed)

‘Don’t protest’: Less-than-lethal weapons manufacturer responds to Google review


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 7, 2023   Updated on Dec 7, 2023, 12:14 pm CST

Combined Systems Inc. responded to a Google review critical of its products, saying that people shouldn’t protest if they don’t want to “get gassed.”

Researcher Erin Gallagher posted on X that Combined Systems Inc., a less-than-lethal weapons manufacturer, responded to a Google review today that she left the company over nine years ago. Combined Systems produces rubber bullets, rubber pellet grenades, and “defense aerosols” to be used for “crowd management.”

“Your products are not being used for ‘crowd control’ they are being used as tools of repression,” Gallagher wrote in her review. “Do you know your products are now causing cancer in Gezi Park protestors? How do you sleep at night shareholders of Combined Systems Inc.? I am disgusted your business operates in my state.”

In response, an individual designated as the “owner” of Combined Systems’ Google page said “then don’t protest and you won’t get gassed.”

Gallagher did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via X.

Gallagher’s review references the Gezi Park protests, which took place in 2013. Protesters were subjected to tear gas, though a 2023 report from Amnesty International shows that the specific gas used by authorities was manufactured by Daekwang, a South Korean less-then-lethal weapons manufacturer.

That’s not to say that Combined Systems, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania, hasn’t been used in international protests, though. Amnesty International also found that the company’s products were used to suppress protestors in Egypt, Israel, Tunisia, and Colombia. Combined Systems tear gasses were also used against Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020.

The company has been awarded almost 4 million dollars in federal contracts with the U.S. government; its largest transactions have been with the Department of Defense, the FBI, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

And as specified on its website, many Combined Systems’ products can “expose” individuals to chemicals that are known to cause cancer.

Gallagher’s isn’t the only Google review that the company has interacted with: Combined Systems responded to a review from a person who says their throat and lungs were seared by tear gas while they were “airing [their] grievances against the police state of [their] country.”

“You shouldn’t have caused trouble then,” the owner of Combined Systems’ Google page wrote. “Lol.”

As of publication, Combined Systems Inc. has deleted all of its Google reviews. The company did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for statement via email.

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*First Published: Dec 7, 2023, 12:07 pm CST