KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two protesters have filed a lawsuit against three officers involved in a pepper spray incident, which was caught on video and sparked outcries nation wide.
Tarence Maddox and his 15-year-old daughter, named “N.M.” in the lawsuit, have accused officers N. McQuillen, J. Oaks and Taylor Hall with assault and false imprisonment. McQuillen and Oaks face additional charges of battery.
Protests erupted in Kansas City and across the nation after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters called for changing policing tactics, defunding police departments and increasing scrutiny and accountability of law enforcement.
However, many protests turned violent. Protesters clashed with police in the streets. Police, backed by video evidence, claimed protesters assaulted them in many cases by throwing bricks and frozen water bottles. Police responded with tear gas and other methods, prompting more outrage over policing tactics.
In the video, Maddox can be seen standing on the curb next N.M., yelling at police. At one point, he steps off of the curb and continues to yell, using profanity. That’s when police approach to arrest him. When they try, Maddox is held back from behind and others crowd around him, including N.M.
That’s when one officer, identified in the suit as McQuillen, pepper sprays N.M. and Maddox.
“The pepper spray used on the 15-year-old female Plaintiff ‘offers the strength needed to
subdue the strongest of aggressors,'” the lawsuit states, citing a advertising description of the spray.
The lawsuit also claims that N.M. “in no way hindered the officer’s ability to effect an arrest. It also states that officers continued to spray the crowd “like they were spraying silly string at a birthday party.”
“People are trying to hold that person back. I don’t think he’s resistant, but some of the crowd is resistant,” Police Chief Rick Smith said about the incident on June 2. “That’s how the officers on the scene decided that was the best tool.”
The video shows the crowd throwing objects at police shortly after the first round of pepper spray. Police follow quickly with more bursts of spray while Maddox is put face down on the ground and arrested.
The video was later featured on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” to which the comedian stated, “It is genuinely impossible to overstate how enraging this video is.”
The total video is one minute and 11 seconds long.
“What you’re probably seeing is the end result of the individual repeatedly defying the orders earlier in the day,” Deputy Chief Karl Oakman said on June 2.
There has been no video evidence that proves that statement.
The lawsuit is seeking a total of more than $25,000 in damages.