What This Conference Was For: Cleveland Cops Body-Slam and Pepper-Spray Peaceful Black People

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Pepper-spraying cop caught on Twitter

You Can't Make This Stuff Up Dept: Moments after hundreds of energized activists streamed out of the Movement for Black Lives Conference, Cleveland police body-slammed, arrested and handcuffed a 14-year-old boy - for allegedly either being intoxicated, lacking a bus ticket or violating open container laws by having an open bottle of Snapple - after which one particularly stone-faced, out-of-control white transit cop randomly, viciously pepper-sprayed those challenging the boy's arrest with shouts of "Take Them Off!" The cop's action was promptly captured on camera phones, with social media and the hashtag #M4BL just as quickly expressing outrage, identifying the cop as Lieut. Sean O'Neil, and urging he either be fired or reported at a Fraud Hotline and Complaint Line. Soon afterward, police released the boy to his mother. The crowd celebrated with chants of "There's no power like the power of the people!" "This is what community looks like," said one post. Another: "Today what I saw is what this conference was meant for.  We show that we stand together. Today. Everyday. Here and when we go home." Where, clearly, we have a long way to go.

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Photo by Ricky Rhodes / Getty

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