Ohio Dem rep, other officials pepper-sprayed during protest in Columbus

Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty and other local Ohio officials were sprayed with pepper spray Saturday in Columbus during protests that broke out in response to the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody.

Beatty, D-Ohio, participated in the protests in downtown Columbus, according to her Twitter, along with Franklin County, Ohio Commissioner Kevin Boyce and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin.

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According to local reports, during the demonstrations, a protester got into an altercation with law enforcement. Police reportedly took that protester down.

Beatty reportedly attempted to intervene, but police began using pepper spray or mace, according to reports.

In a video posted by Hardin on Twitter, he confirmed that he and Beatty did get sprayed, but said “we are okay.”

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“We understand tensions are high,” Hardin said. “We need change but the only way we will get change is peaceful demonstrations.”

Beatty described the protest, as “peaceful,” but noted that “there were times where people got off the curb and into the street.”

“But too much force is not the answer to this,” Beatty said, acknowledging that “it probably was not safe” for her to attend the protest, but said she is “so proud of my colleagues.”

“We want to continue to protest, but it must be peaceful,” she said. “And that does not mean that we are not standing up for justice.”

The protests and riots broke out across the nation in response to the death of Floyd.

Floyd was arrested Monday after an employee at a grocery store called police and accused him of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd, who is black, was then handcuffed by Derek Chauvin, who is white, and pushed to the ground.

A cell phone video shows Floyd’s head is turned to the side and he does not appear to be resisting. Chauvin had his knee pressed to the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd is seen gasping for air and begging Chauvin to stop. He does not. Bystanders are also heard shouting at Chauvin to take his knee off of Floyd’s neck.

Floyd, 46, died in police custody Monday night.

Minneapolis police officer Chauvin was charged Friday with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter in Minnesota.

Fox News' Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report. 

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