- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2016

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Latest on the police pepper-spraying of a 15-year-old girl (all times local):

7 p.m.

A news conference with a 15-year-old Maryland girl who was pepper-sprayed by police turned into a shouting match when the mayor showed up.

Hagerstown Mayor David Gysberts (GYZE-berts) called the girl’s lawyer Robin Ficker “a showboating, sideshow attorney” who was trying to divide the community.

Ficker accused Gysberts of politicking and hollered, “Tell the truth, Mr. Mayor, tell the truth!”

Gysberts says he has compassion for the girl, and is awaiting the results of a police use-of-force investigation. The officers involved remain on active duty.

Gysberts says the girl and her family should sit down with police in a mediation session to resolve their dispute.


6 p.m.

A 15-year-old Maryland girl pepper-sprayed by police says she resisted arrest because she was dizzy, confused and scared after her bicycle hit a moving car, briefly knocking her unconscious.

The girl and her mother spoke to reporters Thursday outside Hagerstown police headquarters while dozens of people demonstrated nearby, demanding accountability.

The girl says she refused medical help and cursed and kicked at police because she wanted to go home. She says she wouldn’t identify herself because she’s a private person.

Police Chief Victor Brito says the officers used minimal force to take the girl in a cruiser to the police station as part of their accident investigation.


4:30 p.m.

A Maryland police chief says officers used appropriate force in pepper-spraying a 15-year-old girl who wouldn’t cooperate in their investigation after she crashed her bicycle into a moving car.

Chief Victor Brito said at a news conference in Hagerstown Thursday that pepper-spraying the girl to get her into a cruiser was the minimal amount of force needed to gain her cooperation.

He says officers tried to de-escalate the situation but the girl became combative, kicking and cursing, and refusing to identify herself.

Brito says she calmed down at the police station, where she was charged as a juvenile with assault, disorderly conduct and a traffic violation.


1:30 p.m.

An attorney for a 15-year-old Maryland girl pepper-sprayed by police says body-camera video proves the officers overreacted.

Robin Ficker said Thursday that the video released by Hagerstown police shows “aggression from the get-go.”

The video shows an officer arriving at the scene of a bicycle-car collision, and the girl, apparently unhurt, getting off her bike and walking away.

The officer says, “Come here.” She says, “Don’t’ touch me.” A bystander tells her she’s going to make it worse, but she tries to ride away.

An officer then pulls her off the bike and tells her she’s being detained “for cooperation of an investigation.”

Officers then grapple with struggling girl and handcuff her even though she says she’s ready to cooperate. An officer later pepper-sprays her to get her into a cruiser.


8 a.m.

Police in Maryland have released body-camera video of an officer pepper-spraying a 15-year-old girl in a police cruiser when she refused to put her feet inside.

Hagerstown Police Capt. Paul Kifer has said the white officer who arrested the mixed-race girl had to subdue her with chemical spray to get her into a cruiser for a ride to the police station after her bicycle hit a car Sunday. The video released late Wednesday shows officers grabbing the girl as she rides away and struggling to handcuff her.

Later, video shows officers trying to persuade the girl to put her feet inside the cruiser and then an officer spraying through a window. The girl coughs and screams before the car drives off.

Police say the girl was charged as a juvenile with assault and disorderly conduct.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide