Portland, OR – Talk about adding insult to injury. One Occupy Portland protestor, who was photographed getting a mouthful of pepper spray, has been fined by a judge for ignoring police orders.
Occupy protestor Liz Nichols (pictured above, swallowing pepper spray) became infamous worldwide after the image up top became iconic of the clash with police during last year’s Occupy demonstrations. Of course, no self-respecting protestor is going to lie down for “the man,” and it’s for this neglect to follow police orders that Nichols has been fined $260 by a judge.
KATU reports that Nichols filed a lawsuit over the incident in October. She said that the officers in question violated her constitutional rights and used excessive force.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what kind of effects swallowing a mouthful of pepper spray can have on your health. Nichols explains her experience in a video below from The Oregonian, and while she seems mostly okay, pepper spray can actually have some pretty nasty effects on your health.
The Wall Street Journal reports that though pepper spray obviously burns the skin and causes blindness, it can cause a variety of respiratory problems that are of real concern: “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak .. and rarely, cyanosis [blue or purple skin or mucous membranes], apnea and respiratory arrest.”
Sounds sexy! Additionally, oleoresin capsicum, a pepper plant extract used in some pepper sprays, is listed as having 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units. Scoville units are like “spicy” units, to be incredibly reductive. For comparison’s sake, habanero peppers boast about 200,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.
The moral of this story is to never open your mouth when you are being pepper sprayed. Stay safe, Occupy!