Video shows Maryland police pepper-spraying 15-year-old girl after bicycle accident

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Body-camera videos of police pepper-spraying a 15-year-old girl in Maryland have touched off an uproar.

Police released the two videos to the public Thursday and have defended their actions, while the girl's family and their attorney said at a news conference that the young woman had been mistreated by cops.

The incident began Sunday when Hagerstown police officers received a 911 call that a bicyclist hit a car, according to police.

One of the videos shows the girl walking away from police and then attempting to ride away on her bike before she was then pulled back by one officer.

"Get off of me!" the girl cried repeatedly, as she struggled with the officer for several minutes before two cops lifted her up and put her in the back of a police car.

The videos show passersby watching as officers repeatedly told the girl, who was handcuffed, "you are going to get sprayed," and ordered her to put her feet inside the patrol car.

The girl continued to scream until an officer pepper-sprayed her through the open car window and another officer closed the door.

"I can't breathe," cried the girl, who is not being identified by CNN.

Her lawyer said she was sprayed four times, while the police chief said it was once.

The attorney, Robin Ficker, posted a video taken by a witness on the scene, and the lawyer included the following a message on Facebook:

"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!"

Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito strongly defended the actions of the officers in a news conference Thursday, saying the girl had become "assaultive" and "combative" and would not cooperate with police. She can be heard on the videos cursing at the officers.

The cops told her they wanted to contact her parents, but she wouldn't give them any information.

"Every time we use a level of force, regardless whether we are justified or not, we lose," Brito told reporters.

The police chief said the officers had tried to deescalate the situation and recognized that pepper-spraying the teen did not "look great" for law enforcement, but was necessary as a last resort.

The girl, her mother, and Ficker spoke to reporters to express anger with the actions of the police, which led to demonstrations in the city and ignited a storm on social media.

"The cops knew she might not be OK, but they didn't treat her that way," Ficker said.

When asked by a reporter if the teen acted appropriately in dealing with the police, the girl's mother suggested that the situation "could have been handled better (by her daughter)," but added: "I don't know that she was even in the right frame of mind."

"You don't take a 15-year-old child, and put them in handcuffs, and shut a door, and mace them four times," said the girl's mother. "Why was she not transported to the hospital? Why?"

Police said the girl refused medical treatment at the scene.

The teen was later charged with disorderly conduct, assault and possession of marijuana, according to police.

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9 comments

  • food for thought

    she was having a panic atttack, they should have left the girl alone. she refused medical treatment after being HIT by a car? Theres something VERY wrong with this she should not have been sprayed she was cuffed and in the car. She repeatly asked for them to call her mother and the officers neglected that request. she is a minor. THAT terriost in new york was treated better then her. I feel so bad for this young lady I hope her all the best.
    They twisted a little girls panic attack with disorderly conduct, What assult ? and a little pot. Well she shouldent of had the pot if she really did but every other charge should be dropped. SHE WAS SCAIRED. The officers are lucky they dident kill this young lady, maybe she had a concotion from being hit by a car and the reason she refused treatment was because she had the pot on her and she was afraid to get in trouble.

    • James

      I can tell from your comment you didn’t watch the video. They ask her for her parents names at least 5 times. She refuses to provide the names. Also, they have medical response at the scene and the girl refused treatment. She damaged a car then tried to flee. When that didn’t work, she resisted arrest. Open and shut case. Thank god for body cameras!

      • food for thought

        I did watch the videos , yes both. the untouched not edited version that was on facebook is a whole new outlet, you can CLEARLY hear her saying I want my mom, can you call my mom PLEASE! ? ! ? ALSO, at the end of the video when she was sprayed she was in the car hand cuffs, so why was she sprayed at that point? the cop sprayed one long and twice after that, then closed the door. windows up. You could hear her coughing and saying I cant breath. in the begining of the video one of the officers was explaining to a bystander they where holding her for her own “protection”also you can hear her asking for the black officer. and at the very end of the video she gave her parrword to someone so they could contact her parents. so dont say I dident see the video I wouldnt have made that comment if I dident feel she was mistreated. This young girl WAS.
        I knoiw what a panic attack looks like and what a child throwing a fit looks like she was scaired.
        There is a complete diffrence between a child and 3-4 grown men, there was no reason why it took that many cops.

  • afreedomfighter88

    This child was upset and Confused. These officers did everything they could to provoke her. They were like two young boys torturing a small animal. You could see the Glee in their faces as they did everything they could to make her uncomfortable and reactive. If that wasn’t enough once they had her inside the police car they then pepper spray the child for no reason. These police officers demonstrate the reason why some cops are called pigs. And pigs is the right word for these officers who should be terminated immediately to find jobs they’re more suited for.