It was at an MLK Day rally in Seattle where the local cops pepper-sprayed attendees, many of them for no apparent reason other than because they could.
I know that there’s this “war on police,” but there’s a reciprocal war on civilians being waged by police. They don’t care for civilians in much the same way many civilians don’t care for overly aggressive and thuggish police. KOMO News reported:
A high school teacher and activist is suing the city of Seattle, claiming police officers unlawfully pepper sprayed him as he left a peaceful rally on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Jesse Hagopian, a history teacher at Garfield High School, spoke during an MLK rally in Seattle and says he was on the phone while leaving the January 19th event. As Hagopian, a father of two, was walking to meet family, he says he was pepper sprayed by a Seattle police officer.
The incident was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube Wednesday, the same day Hagopian’s attorney filed a claim against the city.
“I felt the piercing pain shoot through my eye, my ear drum and my nostril, all over my cheek and face,” Hagopian said, recalling the incident. “I yelled out. My mom was in distress as she heard me yell.”
Seattle Police spokesman Patrick Michaud said he hadn’t seen the video as of Wednesday afternoon and couldn’t comment. Michaud said the video was not taken by SPD staff.
“(Jesse) was pepper sprayed irrationally by a police officer – no provocation and no reason,” said Hagopian’s attorney, James Bible. “We view this as a challenge to free speech.”
Bible, who is president of the local chapter of the NAACP, joined other community advocates in the lobby of city hall Monday. Many say the police have been heavy-handed at recent rallies, despite being under federal orders to improve training, supervision, and accountability.
“We have worked to create and implement a comprehensive and transparent police accountability system that will be the most robust in the nation,” said Mayor Ed Murray, in an emailed statement. “Under the accountability system that we’ve set up, the uses of force that occurred during the MLK protests are currently under review and being investigated.”
You can see the clip here. Very prominently featured is the voice of an angry woman cop as she sprayed passersby at random. “Get back!” she yelled. “Seattle Police Department! Get back!” The history teacher Jesse Hagopian was caught in the hot spray:
I know that some people of color will be more likely to want to believe this was racially motivated, because it was a screaming, angry, white woman attacking a black man minding his own business. I think there was no discrimination here. The cop lady was going nuts and spraying people without discrimination. She was just angry, because there were civilians around.