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Lawmaker backs deputies in pepper-spraying of eyes

A congressman whose office was the target of a sit-in says deputies did nothing wrong when they dabbed pepper spray on the eyes of protesters to break up an anti-logging demonstration.

A videotape released Thursday shows protesters sitting around a tree stump in Rep. Frank Riggs' office in Eureka and screaming as deputies pulled back their heads, opened their eyes, and applied the burning material to their eyeballs.The video, made by the sheriff's office during the Oct. 16 incident, was played for reporters Thursday as lawyers announced a federal lawsuit.

"I think under the circumstances, this was probably an appropriate use of force as opposed to the laying on of hands or some other technique," Riggs, R-Calif., said.

The U.S. District Court suit said officers violated standard police practices as well as guidelines from the National Law Enforcement Policy Center for use of pepper spray.