Man arrested for picking up chemical agent canister and throwing it back at police during Wednesday’s demonstration

Huntsville

Posted: Jun 5, 2020 / 02:56 PM CDT Updated: Jun 5, 2020 / 02:56 PM CDT

Patrick McCool (Photo: Huntsville Police Department)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Police are conducting multiple investigations into criminal activity that happened during what authorities say was an unlawful assembly downtown Wednesday night.

On Friday, Huntsville Police arrested Patrick Joseph McCool, 52, for disorderly conduct. Police say McCool is charged with picking up and throwing a chemical agent container at police.

Authorities say the North Alabama Multi-Agency Crime Center (NAMACC) and Criminal Investigations Center (CID) have been reviewing evidence and other material for these investigations.

When the officers deployed the chemical agent as trained, police say McCool ran towards the canister, picked it up and threw it back.

HPD officials say their personnel are trained to deploy the chemical agent in a safe way so it doesn’t cause injury or any other physical contact beyond the scope of its design.  

Authorities said at the time, the chemical agent was activated and being used to disperse the group of people. Police say that the group had already displayed “evidence of civil disobedience as well as dangers to public safety.”

Huntsville police say the group had made threats at police, thrown objects, refused to leave the roadway for traffic flow, and refused to leave the area under a lawful order. They also said they had gathered other evidence of unlawful behavior during the protest.

HPD officials said they will “always support the citizens’ right to peacefully protest but will hold those accountable that violate any other citizen’s constitutional rights.”