© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WOSP-FM in Portsmouth is operating at reduced power. In the meantime, listen online or with the WOSU mobile app.

Columbus Police Contend Officers Didn't Remove Protester's Prosthetic Limbs

Video purports to show a protester whose prosthetic limbs were removed by Columbus Police during demonstrations Sunday.
Video purports to show a protester whose prosthetic limbs were removed by Columbus Police during demonstrations Sunday.

Columbus Police released video footage Monday to push back on allegations that officers took away the prosthetic limbs of a protester during a clash Sunday afternoon.

Using footage from body cameras, and fixed sites near the corner of Broad and High Streets, police explained the progression of events that led to the disturbing images, which went viral on social media.

Videos show the young person receiving aid from other protesters after being pepper sprayed by police. The person has two prosthetic legs, both of which had come off in the tussle with officers. People sharing the images claimed police had taken the legs.

On Monday night, Columbus Police shared footage indicating they weren’t responsible for the legs being removed.

Sgt. James Fuqua says police were attempting to arrest the person after they threw a sign at an officer. As the police went to arrest him, other demonstrators pulled the person away. 

“And as you can see, we’re not chasing him, we’re not pursuing, we’re holding the line,” Fuqua says in a https://youtu.be/_AmMU8UiCjY" target="_blank">video posted to The Columbus Dispatch YouTube channel. “We’re following every practice and guideline that we use during any type of demonstration involving bike officers.”

Video of the person, who has yet to be identified, appeared on the gossip site TMZ and prompted a response from Mayor Andrew Ginther.

CPD just hit and maced a double amputee. Bravo, you heroes. Unarmed, no legged, they dgaf from r/Columbus

"I have seen the video and photo of the disabled man downtown last night," Ginther tweeted on Monday. "We are taking the matter very seriously and working diligently to find video, photos and additional information."

Columbus Police used bikes and pepper spray on protesters Sunday order to disperse crowd from downtown streets. Ginther defended officers' actions, saying they were within the recent restrictions on use of chemical agents, but several members of Columbus City Council argued they violated the policy.

However, Fuqua insists officers wouldn’t do something like remove a protester’s prosthetic limbs.

“We do not—we do not—want to engage with people demonstrating in a way that is going to look negatively on us, negatively on the demonstrators and negatively on our city.” Fuqua says. “I want to make it very clear that the people who think we’re out here trying to be rogue or trying to create a hostile environment for people is categorically false.”

WOSU has reached out to Columbus Police for comment.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.