On Saturday morning, in another U.S. city reacting to the news of Floyd’s tragic killing, Columbus, Ohio, City Council President Shannon Hardin joined a local march to support his fellow citizens.
Instead, Hardin, along with 70-year-old Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce ended up getting pepper-sprayed by police when an officer began scuffling with a protester.
After trying to shield Beatty from the stinging spray and spiriting her away from the ensuing melee, Hardin immediately took to Twitter to ask people to remain calm.
“We have to have grace right now as a country,” he tells PEOPLE.
“We need the police to see the protesters and their pain and we need the protestors to see that structural racism is not just about one person, it’s about a system.