Police release body cam footage of Hagerstown pepper-spraying incident

Posted at 9:02 AM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 18:45:43-04

Hagerstown Police released body cam footage showing the pepper-spray arrest of a 15-year-old girl Sunday.

A Hagerstown, Maryland, police spokesman says several officers involved in the arrest remain on duty while the department investigates.

WARNING: This video contains graphic language.

Capt. Paul Kifer spoke Wednesday evening to about 50 demonstrators who had gathered in a parking lot across the street from police headquarters.

At one point, the protesters partly blocked traffic and urged cars to honk their horns. Organizer Leon Racks said someone must be held accountable for what he considers police misconduct.

Kifer says an officer sprayed the girl as she resisted his efforts to put her in a cruiser after police determined that she had caused an accident by crashing her bicycle into the side of a moving vehicle.

Neighbors near the incident say reckless bike riding is a constant issue.

Andrew Hidish has lived in the area for 5 years and says people have to honk their horns coming down North Locust Street, to get bicyclists to get out of the way.

The man driving the other car says in the body camera video that he was driving through a green light at the intersection of North Locust Street and Randolph Avenue when the 15-year-old hit his car.

In the video it is difficult to see any damage done to the car.

Neighbors say while the girl was resisting arrest, cursing the officers and screaming, they feel the officers could've approached the situation differently.

"She's a child, they are professionals, they should've handled that, that's why we have all these problems now," Marion Lomax said.

Hagerstown Police are planning to speak at a press conference at City Hall, at 3 p.m.

The girl's family is also planning on speaking to the press at 5 p.m..

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that there were about 50 demonstrators.

ABC2 News contributed to this report. 

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