A man who was on the phone with his mother when a Seattle police officer pepper sprayed him as he walked by will receive a $100,000 settlement.
Jesse Hagopian, a high school history teacher, had just given a speech during a Martin Luther King, Jr. event last year when Seattle police officer Sandra DeLaFuente pepper sprayed him, ordering him to get back, even though he was already walking away from her and was never that close to begin with.
But police said he was participating in a march without a permit, so it was understandable why he was pepper sprayed. Plus, police said, it was a stressful time for officers as they were clashing with other protesters.
A second video recorded from above shows one officer down on the ground as other officers pepper spray protesters.
That officer, Ronald Hylton, who ended up needing an ambulance, accused two protesters of assaulting him, leading to their arrests.
But a third video surfaced showing he tripped while trying to chase after a protester, so charges were never filed against the two protesters.
However, Hagopian was not even protesting as he strolled by a line of cops holding their bicycles in front of them as shields.
But DeLaFuente was yelling hysterically, pepper spraying people who were not threatening her.
Hagopian filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the incident left him with anxiety, stress and difficulty breathing.
The settlement means that the Seattle Police Department will admit no guilt.
After the incident, the department’s internal affairs department recommended a one-day suspension for DeLaFuente. But Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole reduced it to a verbal reprimand,saying DeLaFuente was a “wonderful role model” with a “great reputation” and a “great record.”
The chief also said there were no lieutenants on the scene, who are supposed to approve the use of pepper spray, which was another reason why she went easy on DeLaFuente.