The City of Columbus in Ohio said on Thursday that it will look into reports that the death of a 22-year-old Ohio State University graduate at the end of last month was linked to her being tear gassed at a George Floyd protest days earlier.
The woman, named as Sarah Grossman, was among protesters showing support for Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 when white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The incident sparked protests across the US, including in Columbus.
According to several social media posts, Grossman was among a group of protesters who were tear gassed by riot police.
Responding to the reports, the City of Columbus said on Twitter that the Fire Department did not have a record of an EMT ambulance taking anyone to any Columbus-area hospitals at the time of the incident.
But it added that the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is handling Grossman’s autopsy and the city will look into any possible connection to its policing of the event.
We have seen social media reports of a young woman passing away as the result of being sprayed during a protest in Columbus. What we know right now is that @ColsFire does not have a record of an EMT transport to any Columbus-area hospitals.
— City of Columbus ???? (@ColumbusGov) June 3, 2020
The Montgomery County coroner confirmed it was conducting an autopsy on Grossman, local television station WCMH reported, saying it had also confirmed she died on May 30 at Sycamore Hospital.
The results of the autopsy are expected to take approximately eight weeks, the report added.
In a Facebook post, her former employer, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, said, “As a peaceful protestor this weekend, [Grossman] stood up to end police brutality and was tear gassed as a result. Her death came in the aftermath, but her legacy stands even stronger.”