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Congresswoman pepper sprayed during George Floyd protest in Ohio

Click to play video: 'George Floyd death: U.S. congresswoman alleges she was pepper sprayed during Ohio protest'
George Floyd death: U.S. congresswoman alleges she was pepper sprayed during Ohio protest
WATCH: George Floyd death: U.S. congresswoman alleges she was pepper sprayed during Ohio protest – May 31, 2020

U.S. Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty, a Black congresswoman from Ohio, was sprayed with what was described as pepper spray or mace during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Columbus on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Beatty told NBC 4 that during the demonstration a protester began scuffling with police.

According to NBC 4, that person was taken down by officers, which upset other protesters.

The Congresswoman attempted to calm the situation by stepping between the protesters and police, when an officer pulled out pepper spray or mace and began spraying.

That’s when Columbus City Council President, Shannon Hardin, and Franklin County Commissioner, Kevin Boyce — who had attended the protest with Beatty — pulled her away.

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I’m ok,” Beatty wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “Was just trying my best to deescalate the situation.”

In a video posted on Twitter shortly after the incident, Hardin said things “got a little out of hand.”

“I did get sprayed, Congresswoman got a little sprayed,” he said, adding all three were doing “OK.”

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“We are encouraging folks to stay calm,” Hardin continued. “We understand that tensions are high, our tensions are high as well, we are angry as all get out and we need change, [but] the only way we will get change is by peaceful demonstrations.”

In the video, Beatty explains she attended the protest to show her support.

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“We came out to support them and be with them and it was just something in my heart, thinking about George Floyd, thinking about all of the injustices, that I needed to be out here,” she said.

Beatty said while the protest was mostly peaceful, there were times when demonstrators “got off the curb into the streets.”

“But too much force is not the answer to this,” she said.

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George Floyd death: Minnesota governor calls past week ‘one of the most difficult and trying weeks’ in state’s history

Beatty said while she was “so proud” of her colleagues and the young people protesting, the demonstrations need to remain peaceful.

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“And that does not mean that we are not standing up for justice,” she said. “Someone quoted and hollered out about Martin Luther King — well we all know that he stood for peace and justice but he made a difference.”

Boyce echoed Beatty’s comments, urging protesters to continue marching, but to do so in a peaceful manner.

“We came down here to establish our voice against racism and for peace, but it just takes one or two individuals to take things sideways,” he said.

“So we’re just calling on everybody in Columbus to protest, but protest peacefully.”

“We know you’re with us,” he continued. “We know you denounce racism, we know you want change, we know you want justice, but there’s a way to do it and so we call on you to do it, but do it peacefully.”

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U.S. Senator Kamala Harris commended Beatty’s actions in a tweet on Saturday.

“Thank you for your leadership and putting yourself on the line for your constituents,” she wrote. “When we stand together, change happens.”

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George Floyd death: Video appears to show NYPD vehicles drive into protesters

Saturday marked the fourth day of protests which have ignited across the U.S., in response to the death of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis, Minn., on Monday.

The officer — Derek Chauvin — has since been charged with murder.

The protests, which began in Minneapolis, have now spread across the country descending into violence in many cities including Los Angeles and New York City.

A number of states have summoned the National Guard in order to control the chaos.

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Solidarity marches have also sprung up internationally, with demonstrators taking to the streets in London, Germany and Denmark to show their support.

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