Multiple purported witnesses claimed the cops disconnected and took away the young man's prosthetic legs, forcing him to crawl towards help.
Trigger warning: This report contains details of excessive force used by the police on a disabled man that readers may find disturbing
A disturbing video taken during Sunday's George Floyd protests in Ohio shows a double amputee thrashing on the ground in pain after he was allegedly knocked down and pepper-sprayed by the police. In the video which has been widely shared on social media over the past few days, someone screams repeatedly for a medic as bystanders clear pepper spray from the eyes of the protestor as his prosthetic legs still in their shoes lay nearby. According to Daily Mail, multiple purported witnesses claimed the man was peacefully protesting when officers possibly struck him and deployed pepper spray against him.
Hard to watch: Police hit and maced a young disabled amputee. The same mace @MayorGinther insisted was illegal to use against peaceful protestors. The video is of the aftermath, fellow protestors had to retrieve the lost legs. https://t.co/bmXJMIfeLi #columbusprotest pic.twitter.com/me7U22cpzk— 🌟 Stiffler 🌟 (@FindChaos) June 21, 2020
They also claimed that the cops disconnected and took away the young man's prosthetic legs, forcing him to crawl towards help. Tweeting a Reddit link to the video, Twitter user Laurenn McCubbin wrote: Today in Columbus my husband was downtown at the protests & saw the cops hit & mace an unarmed kid and then STEAL HIS PROSTHETIC LEGS. For everyone asking: the protesters begged the cops for the legs back, cops refused. Then a group rushed the cops (getting maced) and were able to grab the legs back & get them back to the kid.
5️⃣9️⃣6️⃣ Columbus, OH: police pepper spray a double amputee, then *disconnect and take his prosthetic legs*— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 22, 2020
The man *crawled on his hands* to get medical help while a group of protestors rushed the cops to get his legs back
Today, 21 June 2020
[Reddit: https://t.co/OEK8Nvms43] pic.twitter.com/65ppkbo4dv
This kid, who was doing nothing but exercising his 1st amendment rights, was knocked over, maced, and had to flee from the cops ON HIS HANDS, to find medical help, McCubbin added. The Columbus Police Department responded to the incident late Monday night following widespread backlash, with the claim that the protestor had just moments earlier thrown large plywood signs at officers. Defending the response of his officers to The Columbus Dispatch, Sgt. James Fuqua said, "It blew up into this thing with little or no context. We’re just getting annihilated publicly because they really think what they saw actually happened."
Meanwhile, other videos from Sunday's protests showed officers using their department-issued bicycles as battering rams to push demonstrators back in a bid to clear the street. Despite city officials recently stating that pepper spray would be banned from law enforcement use, several cops are seen wielding canisters in both hands, reports Newsweek. Announcing the ban of chemical agents like pepper spray last week, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said, "We have been clear about respecting and protecting peaceful protest. We also must keep city streets open to the public to travel and protect residents from lawlessness including the drag racing, fires, and injuries in recent nights."
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.— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) June 22, 2020
The mayor also defended the actions of Columbus police, reports WCMH, saying: "There was not teargas used yesterday, you know the wooden bullets, the other things that we’ve said shouldn’t be used on peaceful protesters, and the only time that I’m aware that pepper spray was used was after things became much more confrontational and violent when the scooter was thrown at the police officer when the police officer was tackled by the crowd, but it’s really important because we want to hold people accountable if they are not following the policies and directives of the department."
Speaking to reporters about the highly criticized incident, Fuqua said, "I know I sound like a broken record when I said we respect everyone’s right to peacefully protest and we understand tensions are high not only in the city of Columbus but in the entire United States. But I caution people that if they really want to make true change, we should be in the action phase. As a US citizen, as someone who desperately wants change personally, use the resources you have. Make sure you use your city leadership, make your voice heard. Use legislation, use all the government entities at your discretion the right way, and try to minimize the demonstrating at this point."