Note: This video contains profanity.
SEATTLE — A Seattle teacher is suing the city after a police officer pepper sprayed him as he passed by talking on his cell phone.
Jesse Hagopian says he was hit in the face with pepper spray as he passed by a line of officers blocking the sidewalk during protests on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 19.
In video captured at the scene, Hagopian does not appear to be aggressive, or even part of the ongoing protests. He says he was just trying to get home while talking to his mother on his cell phone.
“I yelled out, my mom was in distress as she heard me yell and couldn’t see me,” Hagopian told local station Q13 this week.
Hagopian said he spoke at a separate, peaceful protest earlier in the day and believes Seattle police targeted him as payback for that action.
“I want everyone to watch that video and see for themselves,” Hagopian said.
He is seeking $500,000 in damages.
The Seattle Police Department declined comment.