Protestors were seen demanding the end of systemic racism against the black community over the weekend. But some of these peaceful protests turned violent when authorities decided to use unnecessary force.
Disclaimer: This story contains distressing images and videos of police brutality
Following the tragic killing of George Floyd, people took to streets to protest against police brutality and racial profiling in the United States. Protestors were seen demanding the end of systemic racism against the black community. But some of these peaceful protests turned violent when authorities decided to use unnecessary force. One such heartbreaking incident unfolded when a child was seen wailing after an officer with the Seattle Police Department allegedly sprayed mace on her face. Disturbing images and videos show the young girl coughing and screaming in pain during the demonstration on Saturday.
Two Atlanta Police Department officers were fired Sunday after video showed them using "excessive force" against two college students during Saturday night's protests, Atlanta's mayor announced. https://t.co/eTRVBNAxEg— CNN (@CNN) June 1, 2020
Bystanders can be seen running towards her and pouring water and milk to help clean the harsh chemical present in her eyes. People can then be seen walking up to the police officer, who allegedly maced the girl, and asking for his badge number. But the officer refused to give his badge number claimed activist Zellie Imani, who took to Twitter and wrote: Seattle police maced a child. Then refused to give his badge number. According to the New York Post, it was Evan Hreha who captured the painful aftermath of the peaceful protest.
This is the video that was taken down! A 9 year old in Seattle was MACED by pig JARED CAMPBELL from the Seattle Police, it was PEACEFUL PROTEST. His badge number is 8470. Little girl's face is covered in the video PLEASE SHARE #seattleprotest #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/JXrJ1eZ8Qd— Julián✨ (@julesstorres) May 31, 2020
Speaking to BuzzFeed News Mr. Hreha revealed that the protest had been peaceful before officers began macing people. Recalling the events of that day, he said that a prayer session had been led by a priest before authorities began rushing towards the crowd and spraying mace on them. "The next thing you know, the little girl and others were running out screaming. They had been maced and that's when I started filming," recalled Mr. Hreha. "Everybody on the left side of the street we all saying that is was officer Campbell [who used the mace]." He then confronted the officers and asked for "Campbell." Present at the scene was an officer whose last name was Campbell. He was also carrying mace but he refused to respond to Hreha's question, per the video of the incident.
"When I went back over and started filming him, he was really stone-faced and smirking a little bit," said Mr. Hreha of the officer who was wearing a badge with the name "J. Campbell." Campbell was the only one who did not disclose his badge number when asked. "People were asking why he did it. Everyone else gave their badge numbers willingly and he just sat stone-faced and didn’t say anything," continued Hreha.
EXACTLY!!!! collectively we're fighting for JUSTICE! #BlackLivesMatter— Julián✨ (@julesstorres) May 31, 2020
After the incident went viral, protestors who witnessed the scene urged people to file complaints with the Seattle Police Department's Office of Police Accountability. Although the Seattle Police Department did not confirm the identity of the officer, they noted that an investigation had been launched into the incident after receiving several complaints, reports The Independent. A spokesman for the department said, "As the mayor made clear during today's press conference, all uses of force by SPD officers will be investigated accordingly, and officers will be held accountable for inappropriate uses of force. Retaining and building community trust that SPD and partners have worked tirelessly to improve is absolutely paramount."
Kelsey Nyland who is with the police department's Joint Information Center said, "Uses of force, including pepper spray, during the demonstrations will undergo a high level of scrutiny and review by the chain of command. This incident, in particular, has been referred to the [Office of Police Accountability] and an investigation has commenced." During Monday's city council briefing, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said, "I personally witnessed the unacceptable escalation of violence by the Seattle Police Department." According to The Independent, she added, "We have had hundreds, if not thousands of accounts from ordinary people of unacceptable conduct from the SPD. Seattle police officers indiscriminately used tear gas, mace, flash bang grenades, and other types of excessive use of force on the peaceful protesters."
It was a peaceful protest, Mary. That pig cop maced her face. Share or log out.— Julián✨ (@julesstorres) May 31, 2020
When the frightening images of the child screaming in pain reached social media, outraged people demanded answers for the senseless brutality of the police for a peaceful protest. There were some who argued that the parents should not have brought their child to a controversial protest like this. Others quickly backed the parents saying that a young kid should have the right to attend peaceful protests without being afraid of the police.
And her parents had no business bringing her into such a crazy situation... future antifa I guess... They are training her for...— Ann (@AnnLittlemouse) May 31, 2020
Why should a NINE YEAR OLD fear the police?! It’s our right as American citizens to peacefully protest! Arrest this fvxking monster!— DanaCortez (@DanaCortez) May 31, 2020
My God, what’s happening?!