In a brutal assault captured on video, police in Columbus, Ohio, pepper sprayed a double amputee and left him writhing in pain on the road before taking away his prosthetic legs. The incident occurred during Black Lives Matter protests in the city on Sunday.
A few days ago, Columbus Mayor Andre Ginther and the city council had banned the use of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse non-aggressive, non-violent crowds with immediate effect. The gut-wrenching video was shared by a user on Reddit.
Disabled Man Was Part of the BLM Protests
The video, which has been widely shared on social media, shows a disabled man shrieking in pain as passersby help him and call for medical help. The double amputee is seen without his prosthetic legs.
Prior to the incident, the police formed a tight cordon on bicycles and drove the BLM protesters out of an intersection, where several videos show the victim's prosthetic legs lying next to him on the ground.
Officer Who Pepper Sprayed the Double Amputee Identified
In an email sent to Gizmodo, a videographer, who did not want to be named, said: "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 a tweet, Laurenn McCubbin, a Columbus College of Art & Design professor, said her husband attended the protests and witnessed the incident. "Today in Columbus my husband was downtown at the protests & saw the cops hit & mace an unarmed kid and then STEAL HIS PROSTHETIC LEGS," she said.
Another person who goes by the username @prevnartthewise on Twitter, identified the officer who pepper sprayed and removed the prosthetics of the double amputee, as Nathan Hargus of the Columbus PD.
Police Say Double Amputee Attacked Them
Following the widespread outrage on social media, Columbus Mayor Andre Ginther tweeted 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," he tweeted.
Refuting the allegations leveled against them, police spokesman Sgt James Fuqua said the police had evidence which showed that the double amputee attacked the police and had to be pulled away by the protesters.
"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," Fuqua was quoted as saying by The Columbus Dispatch.
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.