A Baltimore man who was pepper-sprayed by Baltimore police during a curfew standoff in West Baltimore last month is set to appear in a Baltimore courtroom Tuesday on charges including inciting a riot.
Video of the incident went viral online, and Baltimore activists have called on social media for Larry Lomax's supporters to attend his trial to show their disapproval of the charges against him.
Lomax, 23, also is charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct in the May 2 incident, in which police allege he "walked quickly" toward a police lieutenant "with his fists balled up tight in an aggressive manner yelling obscenities at the officers and daring them to arrest him."
Baltimore Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar, who is representing Lomax, said she is "looking forward to being able to tell his story" in court. Lomax's address, according to online court records, is the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center.
"He is an innocent man who was clearly treated in a disparate fashion from other protesters," Finegar said. "The treatment of Mr. Lomax by the Baltimore City police was a shocking use of force that was unnecessary."
The incident, which occurred shortly after a 10 p.m. citywide curfew had gone into effect, was at Pennsylvania and North avenues, the center of looting and rioting after the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a severe spinal injury while in police custody.
According to a statement of probable cause for Lomax's arrest, police had warned from a Foxtrot helicopter that anyone in the area after curfew would be arrested.
Police described Lomax as 6 feet tall, 220 pounds and wearing a shirt that read "[Expletive] Police." According to the statement, the lieutenant perceived Lomax's approach "as a threat to his bodily safety and that Mr. Lomax wanted to engage in a fist fight."
The lieutenant "discharged one blast" of pepper spray into Lomax's face and Lomax "stopped aggressing," according to the statement. A sergeant "then placed Mr. Lomax on the ground and into hand cuffs," the statement says.
Video of the incident shows the sergeant yanked Lomax backward to the ground. It then shows officers dragging Lomax from the street to the sidewalk.
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