Police officer tackles and chemical sprays a young man asking for a nickel

By Morgan Cox,

A 21-year-old man was tackled and sprayed with a chemical by a police officer in Washington, D.C. after asking fellow commuters for a nickel.

Damian Barnes was ready to board the Metro when he realized he only had 15 cents on his smarTrip card. He added the dollar bill that was in his pocket to what he had on the card, but was still just five cents under what he needed to get home.

According to WTTG Fox 5, Barnes said, "Knowing that it's only five cents, I'm quite embarrassed to even ask."

The surveillance footage shows the Metro Police officer having a short conversation with the young man before tackling Barnes to the ground and spraying him in the face with chemical spray.

“There was no customer assistance at all. I was just being pretty much pushed away from him, too, while I was trying to understand why I had to leave. Or if there’s any other assistance I could get, since it’s such, you know, five cents. I was just kind of baffled," Barnes said.

The officer claimed that the 21-year-old was being unruly and he was only trying to escort him out, but the video says otherwise.

Barnes was hospitalized and later taken to jail where he was charged with panhandling and unlawful entry. The charges were both dropped.

Yahoo! News explained that Barnes made it clear that if he had known panhandling was against the rules at the station, he would have left rather than sticking around for the extra five cents.

The officer did not explain the rule to the young man, he was just forcing him to leave the station. Barnes is now considering a lawsuit.



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