In what can only be called an unprovoked attack, Kansas City police hit anti-Trump protesters with huge streams of pepper spray Saturday night. There was no reason at all to deploy any such weapon on them. The crowd was lined up across the street from the location of a Donald Trump rally at the Midland auditorium, peacefully protesting. Suddenly, and without warning, police began dousing the crowd with pepper spray.
Chris Stokes was in the crowd when the KCPD decided to use pepper spray on the crowd. Here is his Tweet with the video he shot of the incident:
As you can see, we were far from what happened and were not involved but he in walked up spraying us pic.twitter.com/f22WB5FAAG
— Chris (@stokith) March 13, 2016
You can see the protesters lined up on the sidewalk, milling around but being peaceful. Stokes told BuzzFeed News that they had been staying on the sidewalk all day. He stated that, at this point, a small group of protesters was encouraging people to lock arms and walk into the street. As this was happening, Stokes says the police just started shooting pepper spray into the crowd with no warning. You can see the police line up and, at 1:58 in the video below, open fire. And that pepper spray is like a fire hose.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3numwwINaWE&w=640&h=360] Video by Agnus Dei
After the dousing, everything “went back to peaceful really fast,” Stokes said.
Basically the overall vibe from everybody I talked to afterward was, ‘I can’t believe that just happened.’
Of course, the KCPD tells a different story. They said that they had to spray the crowd to avoid a riot. Yeah, because those people looked like they were going to riot any second. Apparently, the KCPD can’t tell the difference between people exercising their rights and a riot.
We had to use pepper spray 2 times outside Trump rally and arrested 2 people who refused to follow law. (1/2)
— Kansas City Police (@kcpolice) March 13, 2016
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any time in which pepper spray needed to be used. “Had to” must mean something else to the KCPD. They did thank the “majority” for exercising their right “peacefully.”
It looked to me like everyone in those videos were exercising their rights peacefully. Maybe after what happened Friday night in Chicago, the Kansas City PD was a bit twitchy. Fine. Then admit it. Take responsibility and apologize to the protesters. And maybe look up the word, “riot” in the dictionary. But don’t lie when video can so easily prove you wrong. Will they ever learn?
Hey, wait a minute… does that unnecessary pepper spraying remind you of anything? Oh, yes. November 18, 2011. University of California Davis. Occupy protesters, seated peacefully, no threat at all, were casually sprayed with pepper spray by a UCD police officer John Pike. He sprayed them at close range, right in their faces. More than once; he strolled up and down the line spraying them. One of his buddies joined in after this picture was taken
The aftermath of this incident brought two separate inquiries, calls for the resignation of the UCD police chief and the infamous “walk of shame” made by UCD chancellor, Linda Katehi, who refused to resign.
It is doubtful that the KCPD will encounter any sort of inquiry into this matter. It is unlikely that anyone will be suspended or even slapped on the wrist. Even four-and-a-half years later, the police are still okay with using pepper spray on peaceful protesters. Makes you wonder if they have ever really read the Constitution or understand what “the right to assemble peaceably” means.
Featured image via Screen Capture of Video by Agnus Dei