KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Jackson County grand jury has indicted a Kansas City police officer who sprayed a juvenile last May during protests at the Country Club Plaza, prosecutors say.
Nicholas M. McQuillen has been charged with one count of misdemeanor fourth-degree assault.
Court records say the 38-year-old Kansas City officer recklessly caused injury to the juvenile, who is only referred to as N.M. in the jury’s indictment, when he sprayed “fogger spray” into the girl’s face on May 30 at the Plaza.
The indictment says the girl arrived at the Plaza with her father, siblings and others around 5 p.m. to attend the protest near Mill Creek Park. They were there for 30-45 minutes.
The jury reviewed various videos of the incident, including drone footage from the Kansas City Police Department and cell phone video.
That cell phone video shows that the protesters were in the park and on the sidewalks while KCPD officers lined the streets, facing them, according to the indictment.
Court records say KCPD approached an unidentified man near N.M. three times, repeatedly telling him to get back on the sidewalk or he would be arrested. The man disputed these allegations and said he did not hear the officers.
The cell phone video shows the girl standing on the sidewalk as the man makes statements at police, apparently standing on the street.
Court records say McQuillen then gets another officer’s attention, points toward the man and approached with the fogger spray in hand. The protesters stepped back onto the sidewalk. The man and N.M. both said the officer didn’t say anything about the man being under arrest or that N.M. should get out of the way.
When McQuillen and the other officer approach the protester, they reach for him to take him into custody. People or family members with the man attempt to pull him back, but N.M. did not participate or pull the officer.
Court documents say the video shows McQuillen pull the man into N.M. and then forward. The movement, according to the cell video, forces N.M. between the two men and the girl touched the officer’s vest.
At that point, McQuillen is seen raising the fogger spray to the girl’s face/eye level and spraying in close proximity. N.M. said she reached for her face and pulled farther back into the crowd.
According to her testimony, she experienced blurred vision, pain and a burning sensation in her eyes for some time.
McQuillen declined to provide a statement to investigators. He will receive a summons to appear in court at a future date, prosecutors say.
The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99 issued the following statement after the indictment was announced Friday night:
“The FOP is aware of the misdemeanor charge brought against Kansas City, MO Police Officer McQuillen.
“The FOP is very disappointed that the Prosecuting Attorney would bring such a charge when Officer McQuillen employed the lowest level of force available to him. The use of OC spray is an extraordinarily valuable tool that often results in the de-escalation of a given situation. And, the individual here had no injuries or lasting effects from the use of the OC spray.
“We believe this charge has no merit and the FOP will fully support Officer McQuillen as he challenges it in Court.”