Seattle police officers shot pepper spray into a crowd of uncooperative Occupy protesters Tuesday night – including a pregnant 19-year-old and an 84-year-old activist – after a number of them refused to clear one of the city’s downtown intersections, the Associated Press reported.
The protesters gathered in the intersection of 5th Avenue and Pine Street after marching down from their Seattle Central Community College campgrounds. The AP reported the police began blasting pepper spray into the crowd after many refused to move from the intersection, despite police orders.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quoted an Occupy Seattle protester named “Martin” describing the police officers “spraying with abandon." He said that they were “grinning and smiling and cracking jokes” while spraying the crowd.
Occupy Seattle released an official letter reprimanding the Seattle Police Department’s actions:
We condemn the outrageous behavior of the SPD in response to civil disobedience, a peaceful and time honored form of political protest. Occupy Seattle refuses to stand by while the moneyed interests continue to corrupt our democracy. We demand that the moneyed interests and that the SPD both be held accountable for their egregious behavior.
Seattle police spokesperson Jeff Kappel said he did not have the detailed account of what happened to the pregnant teenager and the 84-year-old identified as Dorli Rainey, but added pepper spray is not lethal, nor is it more harmful to people of certain ages. “We probably wouldn't be using pepper spray if that was the case," Kappel said.
A combination of the city’s paramedics, fire department and Occupy Seattle’s own medical team took care of the protesters.
"These protesters are well organized, they're using homemade remedies to counter pepper spray," Seattle fire department spokesperson Kyle Moore told the AP.