Video Shows Carbondale Police Using Pepper Spray on Demonstrators

Jun 29, 2020

Editor's note: This story has been clarified to address the identity of the person arrested.

The Carbondale Police Department has issued a statement regarding Sunday's incident near Italian Village where officers appeared to struggle with a person they were trying to arrest.

Video from a witness shows fellow protesters asking why the person was in custody, and questioned tactics the police used. Officers in a witness video then appeared to push them back and pepper-sprayed them.

Carbondale Police identify the person they arrested as 20-year old Thomas Bruefach, who now faces city ordinance violations including damage to private property and resisting a police officer.

Since the arrest, LGBTQ advocates say the person identifies as transgender, and uses the name Cat.

The incident happened after a demonstration which police say they were aware of, and helped to block traffic for. After the protest, a witness reported that one of the demonstrators spray painted a private property's retaining wall, and provided a video.

Investigators say Cat was the person in the video, and resisted officers as they tried to issue a ticket. While that was occurring, one officer sprayed pepper spray to keep three people from approaching the officers after they refused to comply with the officer's verbal directions.