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Minnesota man facing charges after pepper-spraying autistic man

A Cub Foods location in Plymouth, Minnesota, pictured on April 12, 2012.
A Cub Foods location in Plymouth, Minnesota, pictured on April 12, 2012. m01229 / Flickr

ROSEVILLE, Minn. – A former security guard faces charges after allegedly pepper-spraying an autistic man who was eating free cookies at a Minnesota grocery store.

Timothy Knutsen of St. Paul is charged with two misdemeanour counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct for the March incident at a Cub Foods in Roseville.

An incident report cited by The St. Paul Pioneer Press says 53-year-old Knutsen was shopping when he saw a 20-year-old man eating “a doughnut or a cookie” from the bakery and tried to alert employees.

READ MORE: Louisiana cop gets 40 years in shooting death of 6-year-old autistic boy

The complaint says Knutsen later followed the man, who is classified as a vulnerable adult, and sprayed him in the face with Mace.

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Knutsen told police he didn’t see the free cookies sign and sprayed the man accidentally. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Knutsen told police that the young man “came across to him as a kid that was on drugs.”

Knutsen’s phone wasn’t accepting calls Thursday. Attorney Jill Brisbois declined to comment on the charges.

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