WASHINGTON — Police in Hagerstown, Maryland, have released body-camera video of an officer using pepper spray on a 15-year-old girl inside a a police cruiser, after she refused to tuck her feet inside the car.
Hagerstown Police Capt. Paul Kifer said the white officer who arrested the mixed-race girl had to subdue her with the chemical spray so officers could close the door, for a ride to the police station, after her bicycle hit a car Sunday.
The video, released late Wednesday, shows officers reaching for, and holding the girl, then hancuffing her, after she tried to ride away from the scene.
In the video, the girl said she didn’t need medical treatment several times, and didn’t answer when officers asked her name.
She screamed several times, but appeared to be uninjured.
Since she is a minor, Kifer said police needed to find a parent to authorize her refusal to receive medical treatment from paramedics on the scene.
In the video, an officer tells a bystander, “All we want to do is make sure she’s OK.”
After the girl was carried to the police cruiser, handcuffed with her hands behind her, she refused to put her feet in the vehicle.
After warnings, an officer administered the spray through the rear window, that had been rolled down approximately 3 inches. The girl coughed, and screamed, as officers drove away.
“At that point, as would be even with an adult, if you’re refusing to give us information on a traffic situation, at that point you can be arrested until we determine who you are,” Kifer said.
Kifer said investigators determined the girl caused the accident. She has been charged with assault and disorderly conduct, as well as failure to obey a traffic device, and marijuana possession.
Several officers involved in the arrest remain on duty, during the investigation.
Maryland attorney Robin Ficker, retained by the girl’s mother, posted a photo of the girl, and video of the incident on his Facebook page.
“This little girl, 5 ft. 105 lbs. was brutalized by Hagerstown police after she, on her bike, was hit by a car, but refused medical treatment. They slammed her against a wall, arrested her for refusing treatment, maced her 4 times in the police car while handcuffed, and took her to the police station instead of the hospital!”
Ficker said the girl’s father took her to the hospital after picking her up at the police station.
Ficker said she wasn’t admitted to the hospital but suffered sprained muscles and soreness everywhere, including her wrists from being handcuffed.
The family attorney said the girl has a white mother and black father. He declined to identify them.
Editor’s note: The video includes language some may find graphic.
Video credit: The Herald-Mail, via YouTube.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.