A Garfield High School teacher who was pepper-sprayed by a Seattle police officer after giving a speech at the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in January has filed a federal lawsuit against the department.
A Seattle high school teacher who was pepper-sprayed by a police officer after giving a speech at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in January has filed a federal lawsuit against the department.
Jesse Hagopian, a history teacher at Garfield High School, said in his complaint that he was walking on a sidewalk and talking to his mother on his cell phone when a female officer pepper sprayed him on Jan. 19. The incident was recorded on video, which showed the officer waving a canister and screaming at passers-by to back up before spraying some of them.
The civil rights complaint seeks damages to be determined at trial. Hagopian says he suffered difficulty breathing, anxiety and stress from being pepper sprayed, and he missed some of his 2-year-old son’s birthday party as he treated his injuries.
The Seattle Police Department said it did not have any immediate comment on the lawsuit.
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In January, Hagopian had filed a $500,000 claim against the city.