The man hit by a pepper ball round in a video that has since gone viral following protests in Phoenix, Az. is now facing charges for aggravated assault on police.
Twenty-nine-year-old Joshua Stuart Cobin was seen kicking a round of tear gas at police officers during a riot on Tuesday night. Following his actions, police fired a pepper ball at his groin, prompting him to fall over in pain. He was helped up by another man wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey.
The video quickly went viral on social media with memes like “Good Night, Left Nut.”
Cobin, a support representative of website service provider GoDaddy, identified himself as the man in the video on Reddit. Posting under the username “gotyourqueen,” Cobin claimed (despite his actions) that he isn’t a member of Antifa and that he did not support violence towards police and Trump supporters.
“The pepper ball shot missed Major Johnson by 3 inches north so all I have is some bruising in the groin area,” he wrote, adding that he witnessed a “peaceful protest” by the crowd as they were planning to march to the capitol.
He claimed that he saw “a character” throw a water bottle at the police before the police marched on the crowd.
“There were also a couple medium sized rocks on the ground,” he added. “That seemed to be the reason for the tear gas. I don’t know if it was instigated by counter protesters or just hooligans but that’s their reason for the violence.”
Phoenix police announced late yesterday that they booked the man on four criminal charges, including three felony counts of aggravated assault on police and one misdemeanor for unlawful assembly.
Police said they broke up the demonstration after rocks and other objects were thrown at them.
In an interview with the local news station on Wednesday, Cobin says he suffered second-degree burns from picking up the tear gas cans and spent Tuesday night in an emergency room for inhaling pepper spray.
“I don’t equate kicking or putting back tear gas canisters as attacking police. I never attacked a police officer,” he said to the station, adding that he only kicked back the canister because he didn’t feel their response was justified.
The police have a different version of the events. “He has posted images and admissions to his crime on social and local media outlets,” said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard, who announced Cobin’s arrest.