A Denver police officer has been caught on cell phone video allegedly pepper spraying several people, including children, during a Halloween event on Saturday while attempting to break up a fight.
The Zombie Crawl is an event for all ages where thousands dress up as zombies and enjoy activities and attractions as people parade along a planned route, according to The Free Thought Project.
The fun stopped at the end of the night when police arrived to break up a fight by using pepper spray on a busy city street, hitting a group of innocent people.
One bystander, Lisa Lebrun says she was waiting for a friend near where the fight erupted, when an officer pepper sprayed her right in the face after she turned to see what the commotion was.
“I seen someone coming up to the side of me and I looked over and I got sprayed less than a foot away in my face directly. I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know why I got sprayed,” Lebrun told 7NEWS Denver.
Benaiah Bargas, 9, and his friend Xavier Roybal, 12, were walking nearby with their families back to their cars when they were hit by the same spray as Lebrun.
“He walked up right about where you are and sprayed me in both my eyes and then my lip, I just started screaming. It felt like 40 chilies in my eyes, like the seed, it was really hot,” Roybal said. “It felt like someone made me eat the hottest chilies ever.”
According to 7NEWS, cell phone video posted to YouTube shows a mob of people questioning the officer’s actions while both boys scream in agony. “We were walking to our cars to go home!” one woman is heard yelling.
The police department said they will look into reports about the alleged pepper spray incident and have confirmed they responded to several fights after the Zombie Crawl.
The Denver Post reports that Joel Gutierrez, 33, who was also in the crowd with his family, became “uncontrollably irate” after the spray was used and his child became sick, according to a police report.
He began yelling at Officer Carlos Castillo who used the spray while trying to arrest a man who got into a fight. But Gutierrez did not back down and was "posturing up toward the officer with balled fists," according to an arrest report.
Up to 300 people were in the vicinity of the brawl and around 30,000 people attended the event.
Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of police interference along with Jeremy Michael Encinias, 36, on suspicion of public fighting.