Patrick Joseph McCool, 52, is charged with disorderly conduct in connection to a Wednesday incident.Huntsville Police Department
A North Alabama man faces charges after police said he threw a chemical agent container back at police during protests in Huntsville this week.
Patrick Joseph McCool, 52, is charged with disorderly conduct in connection to the Wednesday incident, according to Huntsville Police Public Information Officer Lt. Michael Johnson. McCool is accused of picking up a chemical agent container and throwing it back at police who had deployed it to disperse the crowd.
“At the time, the chemical agent was activated and being used to assist in dispersing an unlawful assembly that had already displayed evidence of civil disobedience as well as dangers to public safety,” Johnson said. “This civil disobedience prior to the deployment included threats at police, throwing of objects, refusal to vacate a roadway for traffic flow, refusal to disperse under a lawful order, as well as other intelligence gathered throughout the course of this unlawful assembly.
“HPD will always support the citizens right to peacefully protests but it will hold those accountable that violate any other citizen’s constitutional rights,” he added.
Huntsville officials have defended the use of tear gas and smoke against protesters who were gathered in response to the police-involved slaying of Minnesota man George Floyd.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle blamed outside agitators for the unrest.
“Police were clear in their instructions and worked with the remaining protesters for more than an hour before using non-lethal irritants,” Battle said in the statement. “The protesters had every opportunity to peacefully leave and they chose otherwise. The leadership of this second group is not our community.”
HPD said it is conducting “multiple” investigation into criminal activity that occurred that night. The North Alabama Multi-Agency Crime Center and Criminal Investigations Center are reviewing evidence and other material related to the investigations, HPD said.