Customer pepper-sprays man with autism eating free cookies at store

Cookies (AP Photo)

ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — A former security guard faces charges after allegedly pepper-spraying an autistic man who was eating free cookies at a Minnesota grocery store.

Timothy Knutsen of St. Paul is charged with two misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct for the March incident at a Cub Foods in Roseville.

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An incident report cited by The St. Paul Pioneer Press says 53-year-old Knutsen was shopping when he saw a 20-year-old man eating “a doughnut or a cookie” from the bakery and tried to alert employees.

The complaint says Knutsen later followed the man, who is classified as a vulnerable adult, and sprayed him in the face with Mace.

Knutsen told police he didn’t see the free cookies sign and sprayed the man accidentally.

Knutsen was a training director for American Security. Both the company and Cub Foods said he didn’t work for the grocery chain. American Security says Knutsen is no longer an employee.

Knutsen’s phone wasn’t accepting calls Thursday. Attorney Jill Brisbois declined to comment on the charges.

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