(TMU) – As protests and unrest continues weeks after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, police in various locations across the country appear to be in no mood to deescalate the exact same tactics that have enraged citizens – as has been made clear by ongoing reports of excessive force and aggressive crowd control tactics being used against protesters.
And in disturbing footage that has emerged from Columbus, Ohio, police appear to pepper spray a double amputee and leave him crawling on the ground, according to reports.
The disabled man was taking part in a protest against racial injustice and police brutality before he was doused in pepper spray and left writhing in pain and screaming on the ground. In the meantime, other demonstrators could be seen helping him as others indignantly demanded that police return his artificial legs, reports Newsweek.
Several officers were seen deploying canned pepper spray against the crowds in spite of an announcement last week by Mayor Andrew Ginther the city would “immediately stop the use of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse non-aggressive, non-violent crowds.”
Today in Columbus, Ohio, cops pepper sprayed a double amputee, disconnected his prosthetic legs, and took them away.
Watch the amputee crawl for help while people try to get his legs back.
— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) June 22, 2020
Officers could be seen forming a skirmish line with their bicycles before driving demonstrators out of an intersection.
Initial reports on the incident claim that cops seized his legs during the altercation.
Columbus College of Art & Design professor Laurenn McCubbin wrote in a tweet:
“Today in Columbus my husband was downtown at the protests & saw the cops hit & mace an unarmed kid and then STEAL HIS PROSTHETIC LEGS.”
While Twitter user @kforbs posted an image from the scene and wrote:
“I guess this is acceptable @MayorGinther Pulling a double amputee by his legs who then had to crawl up the street? Not to mention mass spraying of peaceful protestors…”
I guess this is acceptable @MayorGinther Pulling a double amputee by his legs who then had to crawl up the street? Not to mention mass spraying of peaceful protestors….#RecallGinther #columbusprotest #Columbus #ColumbusOhio pic.twitter.com/BCYhbfoGF6
— Kristin ? ✊? – Miami Against the World! (@kforbs) June 22, 2020
A videographer who didn’t want to be named told Gizmodo in an email that “the kid was knocked down and maced, and he tried to get away. The cops had him by the ankles and once the prosthetics came loose, the kid RAN up High street on his palms.”
In surveillance footage published Tuesday by online tabloid TMZ, it appears that the man’s prosthetic legs were actually detached as protesters scrambled to rescue the man from the scene following the police use of pepper spray.
In the footage released by officers, the man also appeared to throw plywood signs and a bottle of water toward officers as they began attacking the demonstrators.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua has described the footage as being taken out of context, adding:
“We’re just getting annihilated publicly because they really think what they saw actually happened.”
Mayor Ginther releases statement after protesters and Columbus police clash. https://t.co/a8yU8fMfkd
— WSYX ABC 6 (@wsyx6) June 22, 2020
Fuqua added that police were likely unaware that the man was a double-amputee, noting:
“We’re continuing to hold the line, even though he just assaulted an officer.”
Columbus police are continuing to search for the man.
The video comes as police across the country and in Columbus specifically continue to cope with bad morale as a result of the unfolding nationwide backlash against officers’ actions.
Three local officers anonymously told journalists with WYSX/WTTE that morale in the department has plummeted after the city government has seemingly sent “mixed signals” to officers including the ban on chemical agents and commands from police leadership that they “stand down” even when demonstrators appear to be breaking the law.
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