The Hagerstown, Maryland Police Department released body camera footage from an incident on September 18 in which a police officer used pepper spray on a 15-year-old mixed-race girl after she struck a car while riding her bicycle. Civilian footage of the incident posted on Facebook on September 20 by attorney Robin Ficker prompted police to release the body camera footage.
Ficker posted cell phone footage, seen below, that shows the unidentified girl already being forced into a police cruiser while screaming. As one officer explains to the man filming the scene why the girl is being treated this way, another officer is using pepper spray to get her to move her legs so they can close the door.
“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,” Ficker wrote. “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!” In the video Ficker posted, an officer is heard telling the girl, “Put your feet in the car, OK, or you’re going to get sprayed.”
Hagerstown Police Capt. Paul Kifer told WTOP that they needed to spray the chemical so they could close the door and take her to a police station.
The full, 15-minute body camera footage released by the department late Wednesday begins with the officer responding to a call after the girl struck a car. The identity of the driver and girl are both obscured in the footage. Officers are seen handcuffing the girl when she tries to leave the scene after telling them that she did not need medical assistance.
Ficker, who is representing the girl’s family, told Herald Mail Media that the girl struck her head after the crash and lost consciousness for 30 seconds. “She was dazed, then she got up and realized she was OK,” he said.
During the struggle, the girl kicks the camera and the video stops. When the video returns, it is from the body camera of another officer, the city said, Herald Mail Media reports.
Kifer explained to WTOP that since the girl was a minor, the officers had to have parental approval if she refuses medical assistance. He added that investigators already found that she caused the accident and she was charged with assault and disorderly conduct, failure to obey a traffic device and marijuana possession. Several of the officers are still on duty, even as the investigation continues.
Ficker told Herald Mail Media that the girl was not taken to the hospital after the arrest, but to the police station. Her father later took her to the hospital, where the “only treatment she got (from police) was slamming, abuse and Mace,” Ficker said.
Ficker said that she has a black father and white mother, but did not identify them, WTOP reports.