Police throwing man on the ground

Leif Autzen is a Columbus protester who has been falsely charged in retaliation for legal protest activities. He is charged with two felonies -- one count of assaulting an officer and one count of obstructing official business, and will be arraigned August 17.


The incident occurred on June 21 when Mr. Autzen was standing between the police and other more vulnerable protesters. Witnesses say it was only a short time before the police began assaulting a the protesters violently with their bicycles and with chemical agents. According to witnesses, an officer sprayed a can of mace over their heads and a person was pushed down. She fell to the ground hard and stopped moving, and the police with their bicycles were still advancing. Afraid she might have hit her head when she went down, or that the officers might trample her before she could get out of the way, Autzen knelt down to help her up.


One officer immediately began obstructing him from helping her. Video from witnesses shows Officer Nicholas Mason assaulting him violently by lifting him off his feet, dragging him across the pavement, and slamming him down hard onto the road. This officer then knelt on Autzen's neck, despite the fact that he was shouting that he could not breathe. Later, witnesses also captured on video how Officer Mason slammed Autzen down to the ground again and knelt on his neck again after he was handcuffed and in custody. 


Leif Autzen has no prior criminal record, but the officer who assaulted him has a record of using violent force. The felony charges levied against Mr. Autzen include one count of assaulting an officer and one count of obstructing official business. Autzen maintains that he never assaulted the officer. Because of qualified immunity, any violence committed by Officer Mason is considered official business, and he is protected from any consequences of the violence he chose to instigate.

Video of the police assault: https://youtu.be/hXJL_DnIa2U


Video of arrest: https://youtu.be/tPYGE-_WJFY

Radio interview about police officer: https://radio.wosu.org/post/grand-jury-declines-indict-columbus-officer-traffic-stop-killing#stream/0