Images of a man being sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray during his arrest outside a Donald Trump rally Saturday in Kansas City were circulated online this week by activist groups.
A video of the arrest was posted online by KMBC 9 news.
Some activists in Kansas City were critical of the police use of pepper spray.
The video shows Alexander Fisher, 20, being arrested by Kansas City police outside the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland on Main Street about 5:30 p.m. He was among four people arrested Saturday, as protesters on one side of the street faced off against people on the other side who were in line to see Trump.
Officers used pepper spray twice, both times when protesters tried to step into the street, police said.
Fisher’s arrest occurred when an incident erupted between two opposing groups in front of the Midland and officers stepped in to separate them, according to a police report. Police did not respond to questions about the incident beyond providing the report.
Fisher declined to comment on the incident.
The arresting officer wrote that he was ordering a group of protesters away from the theater entrance but that Fisher “was refusing to walk causing our chests to bump multiple times while he yelled in my face.”
The officer said that he ordered Fisher to move down the street multiple times and put his hand on Fisher’s shoulder to move him. When Fisher “swatted” his hand away, the officer tried to put Fisher’s hands behind his back and arrest him.
When Fisher pulled his arm away, the officer pushed him against a vehicle and another officer sprayed Fisher in the face with pepper spray. The two officers then arrested Fisher and cited him with disorderly conduct.
Based on the video, the use of pepper spray against Fisher could fall in a “gray area,” said Kamran Loghman, who helped develop pepper spray into a weapons-grade material with the FBI in the 1980s.
“On the one hand, the officer will say he is resisting arrest,” Loghman said. “On the other hand, what is the cause of his arrest? He’s not being violent.”
“The use of pepper spray is justified when there is a physical threat,” he continued. “But just because someone is yelling and screaming, you don’t pepper spray them.”