“No provocation:” Seattle high school teacher, activist says police pepper sprayed him for “no reason”
(CNN) — A Seattle high school teacher and father of two is suing the city, claiming he was pepper-sprayed by police for no reason at all! He says his only crime was walking to meet his family during a peaceful rally.
Jesse Hagopian, a Garfield High School teacher and activist had just finished speaking at a rally in Seattle. He says he was making a phone call to his mother when a police officer sprayed him for no apparent reason.
“I felt the piercing pain shoot through my eye, my eardrum and my nostril, all over my cheek and face,” Hagopian said.
Hagopian’s attorney has filed a claim against the city, saying police continue to have a systemic problem with “use of force.”
“He was pepper sprayed irrationally by a police officer. No provocation and no reason,” Hagopian’s attorney James Bible said.
NAACP leaders were joined by other advocates in the lobby of City Hall, arguing the Seattle Police Department is using too much force against demonstrators in recent marches. The incident involving Hagopian, they say, is just one case that happened to be caught on camera.
“Any justice for Jesse I hope will amount for justice for every single person who has exercised their First Amendment right to remind this country that black lives matter,” community activist Nikkita Oliver said.
“The pain that shot through my face only lasted so long, but the painful memory is something that that I don’t know when it will leave me or my family,” Hagopian said.
A spokesman for the Seattle Police Department said that as of Wednesday afternoon, January 28th, he still hadn’t seen the video, and therefore couldn’t comment. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement saying:
“We have worked to create and implement a comprehensive and transparent police accountability system that will be the most robust in the nation. Under the accountability system that we’ve set up, the uses of force that occurred during the MLK protests are currently under review and are being investigated.”