Seattle Police are facing criticism after a Tuesday night photo of an 84-year-old woman Dorli Rainey who was pepper-sprayed went viral online. The photo showed the lady with her face doused with milk to counter the effect of the spray irritant.
Daily Mail reports that a pregnant teen Jennifer was also treated by medics for the effects of the pepper spray.
The plucky old lady, however, tried to make light of the incident after she recovered. She said in an interview with AP: “It’s a gruesome picture, I’m really not that bad looking."
According to Dorli Rainey, she was on a bus when she heard helicopters hovering overhead. She got out of the bus, in her words, to "show solidarity with New York."
AP reports Occupy Seattle protesters had gathered on Tuesday evening after news of police eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from their park encampments in Manhattan, New York.
The Occupy Seattle protesters were blocking a downtown street and the police ordered them to move. Rainey said:
“They picked up their bicycles and started shoving them at us and confining us in a very small place and they started to pepper spray."
But Seattle Police, according to New York Times, said on Wednesday they used the pepper spray only on protesters who refused "a lawful order to disperse or [were] engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers.”
The police, according to Rainey, arrested six protesters. Seattle Police chief Jeff Kappel told reporters that pepper spray "is not age specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80."
But a written statement by protest organizers said police used the spray indiscriminately against an "84-year-old woman, a priest and a pregnant woman who as of this writing is still in the hospital."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, according to AP, said police were reviewing the incident and would make changes in their procedure if necessary. Mayor McGinn said:
“To those engaged in peaceful protest, I am sorry that you were pepper sprayed. I spoke to Dorli Rainey (who I know personally) to ask how she was doing. I also called in Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and the command staff to review the actions of last night. They agreed that this was not their preferred outcome.”
AP reports Dorli Rainey is well known in political circles as a liberal and activist. She is a former school teacher who had briefly entered the 2009 Seattle mayoral race but withdrew because "she was too old."
Rainey confirmed on Wednesday that she still hasn't quit the Occupy Seattle movement.
Daily Mail reports that New York protesters have been allowed back into the parks, but a judge has ruled that the protesters would not be allowed back with camping gear.