Seattle high school teacher and activist Jesse Hagopian is suing the city for $500,000 after police fired pepper spray at him as he walked past officers at a Martin Luther King Day rally. In video of the incident obtained and released by the NAACP, it appears Hagopian and other bystanders were sprayed by officers unprovoked.

"At one point after the big main march, group of bike cops set up a line to keep us from marching. Some people walked through the line, but I didn't," Hagopian wrote on his Facebook page the day of the incident. "When my phone rang, I turned away from the cops and began walking away to answer the phone. A cop then pepper sprayed me right in the face."

He also tweeted that evening:

"We wouldn't anticipate that there would be an apology in this case. Frankly the Seattle police department has a long history of violating civil rights," Hagopian's lawyer, James Bible, told the Guardian.

Indeed, as the paper points out:

In 2011 the SPD was investigated by the US department of justice (DOJ), which found the force "engaged in a pattern of excessive force that violates the constitution and federal law" and raised "serious concerns" that some practices of the force "could result in discriminatory policing".

In 2012 the SPD settled with the DOJ and signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to improve training and community outreach.

KING5 reports that the NAACP has filed their own claim against the city of Seattle, which has 60 days to respond before a lawsuit can be pursued.

[H/T The Stranger]