Des Moines Police Violently Pepper Spray Residents, Baby in Elevator

By Metyia Phillips

DES MOINES, IA – During protests in Des Moines, police officers have repeatedly attacked peaceful protesters with pepper spray, using unnecessary levels of force and emergency protocols to deal with picketers protesting police brutality.

Protests have been happening all over the country due to the death of George Floyd, a victim of police brutality. He was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 by former officer Derek Chauvin, who held Floyd on the ground while he knelt on him with his knee at the back of Floyd’s neck.

George said “I can’t breathe” multiple times, but Chauvin still kept his knee in his neck. After eight minutes and 46 seconds, George Floyd died.

In protests held in Des Moines, officers have used pepper spray as a way to shut down protests and silence protesters. Many of these instances have been documented on Twitter.

A video was shared where officers pepper-sprayed and arrested a reporter from the Des Moines Register so she would stop live-tweeting about the protests happening in the area. The reporter, Andrea Sahouri, was doing her job.

This has also occurred another time, as evidenced by a video that showed officers in Des Moines pepper-spraying another reporter to ensure that she would stop reporting on the events happening.

On two separate accounts, reporters have been unnecessarily pepper-sprayed because police in Des Moines apparently didn’t like what reporters were saying.

Pepper spray has also been used on people other than reporters.

A video of officers using pepper spray on an elevator full of people trying to go home after protesting was viewed over 447,000 times. The pepper spray was used in a closed area where it didn’t have anywhere to disperse, meaning the spray was constantly irritating people’s eyes, mouth, and lungs on the elevator until the doors opened.

There was also a woman holding a baby on the elevator, which the officers could clearly see. Not only did they pepper-spray residents trying to go home, but they also pepper-sprayed a baby who had no knowledge of what was going on and was unfairly subjected to being trapped in an elevator filled with pepper spray.

In Des Moines, police officers are using pepper spray for their own means. Officers are given pepper spray, which is considered a chemical weapon, to use in extreme circumstances when they are given no other choice.

Officers, observers are now saying, have been using it for protection as a weapon to punish and stop anything that they don’t like. Multiple people have reported the unnecessary use of pepper spray by police but nothing has been done about it.

Although officers have been abusing and misusing their privileges to carry a weapon such as pepper spray, this has not stopped people from protesting, activists said.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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