#Disturbing video showing cops pepper-spraying double amputee causes uproar

#Disturbing video showing cops pepper-spraying double amputee causes uproar

A disturbing video has emerged of a double amputee being pepper-sprayed by police during a protest in Columbus, Ohio — and left crawling on the ground after they appear to remove his prosthetic legs, according to reports.

The disabled man, who took part in a Black Lives Matter protest Sunday, can be seen screaming in pain as other demonstrators call for medical help and demand that his limbs be returned, Newsweek reported.

Several cops can be seen brandishing pepper spray canisters despite Mayor Andrew Ginther’s announcement last week that the city would “immediately stop the use of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse non-aggressive, non-violent crowds,” according to the outlet.

In the moments that led up to the incident with the amputee, cops formed a tight formation on bicycles and drove demonstrators out of an intersection where several videos show his prosthetic legs lying next to him on the ground.

Protesters who recorded the chilling footage said on social media that police removed the limbs from the scene.

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

Twitter user @kforbs posted an image of police spraying protesters 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…”

Another user, @prevnartthewise, named the officer who removed the prosthetics as “Nathan Hargus,” saying that “after charging him, knocking him down, ripping his shirt, dislocating his prosthetics and dragging him across the ground, he is pepper-spraying him in the face as protesters attempt to shield him.”

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.”

The mayor later said in a tweet that he saw the footage and images of the disabled man.

“We are taking the matter very seriously and working diligently to find video, photos and additional information,” Ginther wrote.

Meanwhile, police disputed the reports the officers pulled the prosthetic legs off the man, saying they have evidence that shows he had attacked cops and that protesters had pulled him away, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“It blew up into this thing with little or no context,” police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua said of the viral footage, the news outlet reported. “We’re just getting annihilated publicly because they really think what they saw actually happened.”

In video captured by the body cams of three officers and a pole-mounted camera at Broad and High streets, the unidentified man is seen standing and throwing water bottles and two large plywood signs at police, according to The Dispatch.

“This is just like a shield in combat. This isn’t your kid’s science fair poster board,” Fuqua said, adding that the “bike barricade” is “the lowest level of force possible that is an approved technique.”

“Actually lower than pepper spray,” he added.

One of the videos shows the shirtless man with prosthetic legs flinging a 4-foot-tall sign, grazing the head and neck of a cop — prompting at least one other officer to tackle the attacker as spray was used on other protesters.

But Fuqua said several demonstrators pulled the man away and forced cops to retreat with their plywood barricades. In video police shared with The Dispatch and other outlets, police were not seen pursuing the man after he was pulled away.

There was no footage of the prosthetic legs being removed from the man, who returned a short time later with his legs attached, the police video shows.

Fuqua said police at the scene likely didn’t even realize the man was a double amputee.

“We’re continuing to hold the line, even though he just assaulted an officer,” said Fuqua, who declined to say what, if any, charges the man might face.

Authorities asked anyone who can identify the man to come forward.


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