Just as the protests against fatal police shooting of an African-American man, Keith Lamont Scott, intensify in Charlotte, disturbing footage showing another incident of police brutality has surfaced online, prompting harsh reactions from people across the country.
The video shows police officers pepper spraying a hysterically crying 15-year-old biracial girl while she is in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs. The incident took place in Hagerstown, Maryland, on Sunday after a vehicle struck the teen’s bike, causing her to hit her head on the pavement and black out for 30 seconds.
The unidentified girl, who is reportedly an honor role student, was dazed after the crash. She denied any medical attention after the ambulance arrived, insisting she had not received any injuries. She wanted to ride back home but someone called the police because she was a minor.
Attorney Robin Flicker, who posted the video of the abuse on his Facebook page, said the cops reportedly grabbed the 5-foot, 105-pound girl and physically hauled her off the bike. They then lifted her hands above her head and slammed her face into a wall, smashing her chin into a windowsill.
When the girl began to struggle, a natural reaction considering the circumstances, the officers handcuffed and shoved her into back of their car. It was around this time that a bystander began filming the incident.
“Put your feet in the car, OK, or you’re going to get sprayed,” a cop told the youngster as she continued to ask the officers — all of whom were white — to call a black officer named Zack who knew her family.
When a passerby asked the officers why they were treating the girl like a criminal, they said they were trying to help her.
“What happens…when she’s like, ‘I’m fine,’ right, and has a brain injury or something like that, and then she could die later?” the cop said. “And she’s going to come over here and fight us when all we want to do is make sure she’s OK.”
The officers then shut the door, unloaded a can of pepper spray into the back seat through a cracked window as waited as the girl continued to cry, screaming that she cannot breathe.
Instead of taking her to a hospital, as they had previously hinted, the police took her to the station to charge her with disorderly conduct, two counts of second-degree assault, possession of marijuana and failure to obey a traffic device.
The girl’s father, who is African American, picked her up from the police station three hours after she was sprayed and drove her to Meritus Medical Center where the burning chemicals were washed from her eyes and face.
“The only treatment she got (from police) was slamming, abuse and Mace,” said Ficker, adding that the police ordered the hospital not to take any photos of the girl’s chemical burns.
Meanwhile, Hagerstown Police Capt. Tom Langston told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that his department is trying to piece together what happened.
“We’re reviewing the body camera footage,” he stated.