Minneapolis police investigate claims that officers pepper-sprayed child

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said the department will be investigating claims its officers pepper-sprayed a 10-year-old child Wednesday night, as dozens of protesters marched through downtown Minneapolis. The protest was a response to the decision that there would be no charges against a Madison, Wis. police officer who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson.

FULL STORY: No charges for Madison cop who shot Tony Robinson

Signs brandished by protesters indicated they were part of the Black Liberation Minnesota movement, which marched down 7th Street South between Marquette Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. Minneapolis police were on hand to clear streets, and Twitter erupted with claims that they were spraying chemical irritant into the crowd, which included children. 

According to the police report, the group engaged with motorists numerous times "jumping on cars and trying to pull open doors. Officers pushed back the crowds to get the motorists out of harms way, then continued to monitor the protest." The report then went on to say that chemical aerosol was used to drive back "hostile crowds."

Twitter response

"This morning I spoke with the mother of a 10-year-old boy who was affected by chemical irritants downtown last night," Chief Harteau said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "I wanted to know how her son was doing. We are both mothers and we had a good conversation."

Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges are asking for drivers, bystanders and participants in Wednesday night's demonstration to come forward and provide their statement and any evidence that could help with the investigation."We need to see any and all video, from all angles in this case," Chief Harteau said.

The city is also asking organizers of future protests to work with police to ensure safe and peaceful demonstrations.

Minneapolis police statement (11:29 p.m. May 13)

"I am launching a full investigation into the concerns brought forth this evening. Our investigation will include gathering surveillance video and interviewing witnesses. I understand and appreciate people's concerns and will gather the full set of facts as quickly as possible. I assure everyone this will be a thorough investigation." - Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau

The Office of Police Conduct Review will be investigating the police response. This board is made up of both police officers and civilians.

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