Tuscon, AZ — Disturbing body camera footage has been released this week showing a Tuscon cop assault an 86-year-old grandma by throwing her to the ground and then pepper spray a 65-year-old woman for trying to help her up.
Naturally, police are claiming they feared for their safety and were forced to use violence against the 4’5″ 100-lb elderly woman and her 65-year-old friend.
Two weeks ago, protesters gathered in downtown Tuscon to voice their discontent with Tump’s travel ban and immigration crackdown. Although the assault was reported then, the body cam video was not released until now.
According to Breaking 911,
Tucson police chief Chris Magnus said the department is conducting an investigation but has told reporters that he believes his officers handled the crowd appropriately. Local immigrant rights advocates have spoken out against police conduct at the protest, claiming that the arrests were unwarranted and that officers used unnecessary force – particularly against elderly women at the rally. The recently released body camera footage, the rally’s organizers say, “confirms police brutality and repression” of peaceful protesters.
The event, organized to protest recent nationwide deportation raids and in solidarity with the National Day Without Immigrants, began at 4:30 p.m. that day in front of Tucson’s downtown Federal Building. By 6 p.m., at least 80 people had joined the protest – organizers said it grew to 200 people at one point. It “suddenly became a safety and logistical challenge” as crowds began veering off the sidewalks and into the path of traffic, Magnus wrote.
Apparently, the 86-year-old grandma and three other elderly women were being unruly and forced the hand of the officers. Claiming the elderly women had them surrounded, the officers issued an emergency call for assistance.
“Most of the crowd complied, but a very specific subgroup elected to remain in the road and challenge the directions they were given by the officers,” Magnus said, compromising their safety.
“One of the officers working to get a protester back to the sidewalk was assaulted by that protester,” Magnus said. “When the officer went to arrest this subject and place him in a patrol car for transport, he and the other officers who were assisting him were quickly surrounded by members of the crowd.”
Those members of the crowd were the women seen in the video below.
“Here’s this woman on the ground, and they’re so busy pepper spraying those who were helping her, they never help her up,” Rolande Baker, the 65-year-old woman who was pepper sprayed for helping up an elderly grandmother said. “Do we look violent to you?”
The 86-year-old grandma, who has not been identified by authorities, was not injured, and was able to get back up on her own. Baker, however, was still recovering from the pain in her eyes three days later, according to Breaking 911.
“It’s just terrible,” she said. “Would you do that to your mother? Would you do that to your grandmother? Because I’m about the age of your grandmother.”