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Hagerstown Police Chief Says Officer Acted Within Guidelines When He Pepper-Sprayed Teen

September 23rd, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito said his officers “responded within the guidelines of the Hagerstown Police Department and their policy” in the traffic incident there that ended in an officer using pepper spray on a 15-year-old girl.

Brito said in a press conference Friday that the department released body camera footage of the encounter to clear up misconceptions and rumors about how police treated the mixed-race teen.

Police responded to Randolph Avenue and North Locust Street at 2:30 p.m. Sunday after a driver called 911. He was worried for the teen after she struck his driver’s side door on her bike. He was proceeding on Locust Street with a green light; the teen was traveling down Randolph Avenue. The teen refused medical treatment, Brito said, and police attempted to speak to her to ascertain what had happened and the teen’s identity

“Again, we are actively involved in a traffic accident, which we had the authority and the mandate to investigate when we got there,” Brito said. “She became assaultive to us and combative regarding that particular situation.”

He said officers attempted to de-escalate the situation by talking to her and, when she remained aggressive toward the officers, by handcuffing her. He stressed that, as seen in the footage, the officers never took her to the ground and never forced her to the wall.

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