St. Paul mom Susan Montgomery has brought her son, Taye, to protests since he was 3 years old. The rally was organized by the Black Liberation Project and was documented by participants throughout the evening on Twitter. Around 10 p.m., photos emerged of police spraying the crowd with chemical irritant.
'At least I got Maced and not shot'
In video given to Fox 9 from one of the protesters, police spray the chemical irritant to clear the crowd, Taye crying out as it happens, separated a few feet from his mom. Montgomery posted a picture on Facebook shortly thereafter, her son with milk in his eyes to counteract the chemicals.
"Don't be angry about what happened to me. Don't, like, be mad, just feel sad. I don't want people to be mad. At least I got Maced and not shot," Taye said.He said his eyes burned for about an hour, and on Thursday, he was doing much better. He did got to the doctor to check out the blurriness. There were some issues with his sight test, which his mom said was a first, and he's had some headaches, but overall, he is doing alright. Now the center of Thursday's rally, he's calling for peace amid Thursday night's wave of planned protests.
Here's how Taye describes what happened Wednesday night:
"It happened so fast. There was this one lady who was in a whole bunch of people who said park the car, park the car," he recalled. "Then I couldn't find my mom and this cop pulled up with sirens, and then started Macing everyone, didn't give us no warning or nothing."Montgomery admitted she's not sure the officer saw Taye at the time or realized how close he was, but believes this officer was instigating the crowd.
Why she brings her son
Raising a biracial son like Tony Robinson, Montgomery says it important for her to attend these rallies.
"When I'm taking him to these things, I know I'm going to get flack. I already have family members that don't agree. I've gotten that for years, but my children mean the world to me and I want those colors to shine out, that they have a voice and their life matters," she said.
According to the police report, numerous demonstrators were jumping on cars, trying to open doors as they marched down 6th Street just before 9 p.m. between Hennepin Avenue and Marquette Avenue. Some participants insisted they were not damaging property and were only trying to get the cars driving through to stop so none of the marchers got hurt.
Harteau asks for witnesses
Montgomery has talked with both Chief Harteau and the Assistant Chief Matthew Clark. She is thankful there's an investigation and hopes for some sort of reprimand for the officer. Harteau and Minneapolis Mayor Hodges said earlier on Thursday that they're looking to talk to anyone who witnessed the protests last night as part of the investigation.