African-American congressman sprays pepper during George Floyd protest in Columbus

“I was there because I wanted the young protesters to know that in solidarity, that I am with them,” Beatty told the local. NBC 4 affiliate. “You know, I am a grandmother, I am an elected official, but first I am a black woman and I felt the pain,” she said.
Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said in a post about Twitter that he and the congresswoman were “sprinkled with mace or pepper” and “we are all fine”.

“We went out to support them and be with them,” Beatty said in a video on Hardin’s Twitter page. “It was something in my heart to think about George Floyd, to think about all the injustices, that he needed to be out there, to think that he was protecting them and that he was probably not safe,” Beatty said.

Dominic Manecke, a Beatty spokesman, told CNN that the incident occurred when Beatty was trying to mediate tensions between protesters against the Floyd murder and officials with the Columbus Police Department.

“People are angry. Tensions are very high and she came down there as a voice of reason. She has a very good connection to the community and was trying to be a mediator … I mean the police knew who she was and thanked her. “

Manecke explained to CNN that Beatty, whose third district encompasses a large strip of Columbus, was trying to separate an officer and a protester when she was caught in the “close combat” of both groups that resulted in their spraying.

“A young black woman stepped down (the curb) and the policeman took that, I guess, ‘sideways.’ Instantly, a white man came to his defense and then was hit with the body on the ground. The congresswoman runs off. to the street to stop the police and the protesters. Another police officer comes up with his bicycle and pushes the congresswoman, by the way … and then, naturally, it is warming up … that a police officer shoots, I don’t know why he does, he takes out his Mace and he does what he does, “said Manecke.

CNN was unable to reach the Columbus Police Department for comment.

On twitter videoBeatty criticized the police reaction to the growing tensions of the protesters, saying that “too much force is not the answer to this.”

Beatty went on to say that she is “very proud of all young people” before calling on protesters to remain calm.

“… We must continue to protest, but it must be peaceful, and that does not mean that we are not defending justice,” Beatty said.

Saturday marked the fourth day of growing protests in multiple cities for the death of Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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