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Double amputee hit with police pepper spray at protest in Ohio

Police dispute claims they took prosthetic legs from man

Louise Hall
Tuesday 23 June 2020 18:59 BST
Footage of the amputee in the aftermath of the alleged incident was posted online
Footage of the amputee in the aftermath of the alleged incident was posted online (Twitter)

Footage has surfaced of a double amputee after he was allegedly pepper-sprayed during a Black Lives Matter protest in Columbus, Ohio.

The amputee can be seen in the footage screaming in pain as demonstrators attempt to help him and can be heard in the video repeatedly shouting for a medic.

Witnesses from the scene alleged that police had maced the young man and took his prosthetic legs from him forcing him to crawl back for help.

“Today in Columbus my husband was downtown at the protests and saw the cops hit and mace an unarmed kid and then STEAL HIS PROSTHETIC LEGS,” Laurenn McCubbin, a Columbus College of Art & Design professor, tweeted.

Another user posted an image of police spraying protesters and wrote: “I guess this is acceptable [Mayor Andrew Ginther] Pulling a double amputee by his legs who then had to crawl up the street? Not to mention mass spraying of peaceful protesters…”

Columbus police have disputed claims that officers pulled the prosthetic legs off a double amputee during the protest.

The police also reportedly alleged the man had attacked officers in the moments prior to the attack.

“It blew up into this thing with little or no context,” Sergeant James Fuqua, police spokesman told The Columbus Dispatch.

“We’re just getting annihilated publicly because they really think what they saw actually happened.”

Warning: the video below contains footage some viewers may find distressing

Bodycam footage of three officers and a pole-mounted camera at Broad and High streets showed the unidentified man standing and throwing water bottles and two large plywood signs at police, according to The Dispatch.

Sgt Fuqua said several demonstrators pulled the man away and in a video police shared with The Dispatch and other outlets, police were not seen pursuing the man.

The mayor of Columbus, Andrew Ginther, tweeted on Monday to say he would “fully investigate” the incident.

“I have seen the video and photo of the disabled man downtown last night. We are taking the matter very seriously and working diligently to find video, photos and additional information.”

The dispute over the footage comes weeks after the city prohibited police use of tear gas and limited use of pepper spray to clear streets and disperse peaceful demonstrators.

“This new policy will stop unnecessary confrontations between police officers and peaceful” protesters, Columbus City attorney Zach Klein said in a news release.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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