Police: Pepper-spraying teen 'justified'

Maryland teen pepper-sprayed after bike crash

HAGERSTOWN, MD (WUSA9) - Police are defending the actions of several officers who pepper-sprayed a 15-year-old girl who had just been in a bike crash.

Police insist they grabbed the teen crash victim, wrestled her into a patrol car and pepper-sprayed her because she refused to cooperate with the investigation, submit to a medical checkup, or give her name or her parents' names.

Warning: Video may contain content that is disturbing to some viewers.

Her lawyer said the officers' actions were completely inappropriate.

Hagerstown Police rushed to release body cam video from the officers in hopes of explaining their actions.

Police said she crashed her bike into a moving car at an intersection, but her lawyer said the car ran the light.
Within minutes of arriving, police had cuffed her but body cam video shows the girl resisting, even kicking the officers.

RELATED: Police video shows officer pepper-spraying 15-year-old girl 

Her lawyer said she was afraid to go with police she did not know. He said they slammed her face into a window sill then wrestled her into a patrol car. It was when she kept kicking the door as they tried to close it, that police said they pepper-sprayed her.

"When some kid is knocked out in a bike accident, they should be gentle, caring and tending to her needs," said her lawyer, Robin Ficker. "Rather than abusing her and brutalizing her."

The chief of police said he did not think it was an option that officers could have followed the girl home on her bike.

“What the police did was definitely wrong. That's a child,” said a neighbor, Marion Lomax. “That's a little girl and they pepper sprayed her.”

All the officers involved remain on duty.


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