Person charged after 8 homeless people given poisoned food, California authorities say

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — One person has been arrested after eight homeless people in California were given food laced with pepper spray, authorities said.

The Associated Press reported that the poisonings took place in Huntington Beach over the span of a week in mid-May. Huntington Beach is located in Orange County, about 40 miles south of Los Angeles.

"Homeless individuals were poisoned with food laced with oleoresin capsicum, which is twice as strong as the pepper spray used by police," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release.

The victims’ reactions to the poisoning were filmed, Spitzer said.

"The victims suffered a variety of symptoms including seizure-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and intense mouth and stomach pain," the news release said. "Several of the victims required hospitalization."

The name of the person charged in the case had not been made public as of Monday morning. A scheduled news conference on the case was postponed due to protests in the city stemming from last week’s police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Protests, some violent, have sprung up across the U.S. following the death of Floyd, who was accused of forgery. Cellphone footage from a bystander shows officers holding a handcuffed Floyd face down on the pavement.

One officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes, according to the footage. Floyd became unresponsive and later died.

Four officers were fired following the May 25 incident and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Sunday that the state attorney general would be taking over all prosecutions in the Floyd case, according to the AP.

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