State Watch

Officials investigating allegation that Ohio woman’s death linked to tear gas

a photo of the Ohio River in 2017

An Ohio county coroner’s office is investigating whether the death of a 22-year-old was the result of police firing tear gas at her during a protest in Columbus, according to preliminary autopsy records obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

The records indicate Sarah Grossman’s father told the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office that she had been “exposed to tear gas and pepper spray” used by police at a May 28 protest. Family members had found Grossman unresponsive May 30. She arrived at a hospital in Miamisburg, Ohio, in cardiac arrest and died shortly after arrival, according to the preliminary records.

The coroner’s office noted that it will likely be weeks until an official cause of death is established. While an emergency room nurse called the death a suspected overdose, officials have not completed any toxicology screen indicating drugs in her system and her family has denied she had any history of drug abuse, the records state. Her only medical condition listed is a peanut allergy.

City officials said they had already been investigating social media rumors that a protester had died after being tear gassed, and city spokeswoman Robin Davis told the newspaper that narrowing the date Grossman attended the protest down to May 28 “gives us more clarity.”

“Police did use gasses to disperse crowds that night. We haven’t received an official complaint, nor have investigators in Montgomery County talked to [Columbus police],” she said, according to the newspaper. “Again, we encourage anyone who was with her at the protest or on May 29 or 30 before she went to Sycamore to talk to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office or [Columbus police].”

Multiple protests occurred in the city that night and it remains unclear which Grossman attended. Video has emerged of police using pepper spray against protesters, including Ohio State University students, according to the Daily News.

Tags Columbus George Floyd Ohio Sarah Grossman tear gas

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