Police Chief Calls Pepper-Spraying Of Maryland Teen Justified
Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito said the police officers who pepper-sprayed a 15-year-old girl after her bicycle hit a car acted properly.
Police officials spoke out about an incident where officers aggressively subdued a Maryland teen after she was involved in a traffic accident with her bicycle.
According to ABC News, Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito called an incident between a 15-year-old girl and two officers justified after body camera footage showed two unknown officers attempting to place the teenager in custody. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 21) when a man claimed the teen rode through a red light and hit his car. After scratches were found on the vehicle, the teen was approached by the officers. The 22-minute encounter showed the teen was forcibly removed from her bike and handcuffed by one of the officers. Hysterical, the teen pleads for the officers to let her go, which they refused to do. An officer is heard saying, "We're trying to help you," while the other asks the teen about her parents.
The young girl was also pepper-sprayed in a last minute attempt to subdue her, Brito explained. Police charged the teen with assault, disorderly conduct, a traffic violation and marijuana possession as a juvenile. Her name has been withheld for privacy reasons, but the teen explained she didn't cooperate with the police because she felt dizzy and disoriented after the traffic accident. Doctors reportedly diagnosed the teen with a possible concussion and whiplash.
Lawyer Robin Ficker and her mother spoke at a news conference Thursday afternoon (Sept. 22), with the teen recalling her side of the story. "If someone has been knocked out and then wants to go home, instead of going with strangers, and then is grabbed physically by some huge and her hands shoved up behind her back so it's painful — this is not a gentle, 'Here, sit here, we want to talk to you about this, call your parents,'" Ficker said. The teen's mother questioned the cop's behavior and why her daughter wasn't taken to the hospital. She also noted that race had nothing to do with the arrest. Her daughter is biracial, and the officers were white.
The family has announced no charges. Watch the news conference below.