Free Speech Press Release

07.29.20

ACLU of Ohio: Columbus Police Officer Who Pepper Sprayed Peaceful Protester in 2017 is Not Entitled to Qualified Immunity

Police Car Lights

Cincinnati, OH – Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Abdur-Rahim v Columbus, a case challenging a Columbus Police officer who used excessive force against a peaceful protester during a political demonstration in 2017. ACLU attorney Elizabeth Bonham argued that the officer who pepper-sprayed Ellen Abdur-Rahim in the face at pointblank range is not entitled to qualified immunity for using excessive force against her at a peaceful protest.

The following is a statement from Elizabeth Bonham, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Ohio:

“The Columbus Police violated Ms. Abdur-Rahim’s constitutional right to be free from excessive force—among other abuses, an officer grabbed her and pepper sprayed her in the face while she was already hurt and leaving a peaceful political demonstration. My client is seeking justice and accountability under the law.”

The ACLU of Ohio asked the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the District Court’s denial of qualified immunity to Officer Masters.

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