Woman accidentally pepper sprayed by staff at Toronto bar
Popular Toronto bar The Painted Lady was the site of quite the commotion last weekend when a bartender trying to deal with an unruly customer accidentally pepper sprayed a woman sitting at a nearby table.
In a statement, Toronto Police said they received reports that a man who may have had mental health issues was yelling and uncooperative at a bar at 218 Ossington Ave. on Aug. 8.
Police said he then began harassing people and escalated the situation to a physical fight, at which point officers arrived to handle the situation.
When officers arrived on site, they arrested the man and transported him to the hospital for evaluation.
They also discovered that another patron had been pepper sprayed prior to their arrival, and the customer then received medical attention.
While TPS did not reveal the identity of the person who was pepper sprayed, Ontario resident Samantha Blakey told CTV News she was the one who was inadvertently sprayed during the altercation.
Blakey said the man just happened to be standing in front of her when the bartender made the split-second decision to disperse the pepper spray into the air.
"I've never been in pain like that," she told CTV. "It was just like an instant burning sensation. I thought I was blind because like couldn't open my eyes at all."
Blakey said she was treated by paramedics that day, but has continued to deal with lingering health issues such as blurred vision and a headache following the incident.
When asked to comment on the situation, The Painted Lady sent blogTO a statement saying they've reached out to Blakey to help in any way they can.
"Since Sunday night our team has been dealing with the harassment and assault of 2 members of staff and 2 customers by an aggressive, abusive, unstable and unknown passerby," reads the statement.
"This incident occurred on the sidewalk in front of our venue and every attempt was made to keep all of our customers safe. The authorities were called and the incident was handled very well by police and paramedics once they were able to get to the scene," it continues.
"In an act of self–defence, one of our team members was so threatened and terrified that she felt compelled to use her personal protection spray against the assailant to try to make him stop and, in doing so, some of the spray inadvertently affected a customer. This was a horrible and regrettable incident. We have reached back to the customer who was affected by the spray to help in any way we can, and are working with our staff and team to ensure their well-being, and health and safety."
blogTO has viewed two emails from the Painted Lady to Samantha Blakey, both sent on August 12, in which the business apologizes and asks what they can do to help rectify the situation.
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