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Hagerstown police taking heat over Facebook video that appears to show abuse of girl

Hagerstown police taking heat over Facebook video that appears to show abuse of girl

Postby smix » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:50 pm

Hagerstown police taking heat over Facebook video that appears to show abuse of girl
Herald-Mail Media

URL: http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/bre ... 6cdf9.html
Category: Police
Published: September 21, 2016

Description: The Hagerstown Police Department is taking heat on Facebook after a video surfaced earlier this week that shows what appears to be a handcuffed girl being pepper sprayed in the back of a police cruiser. Hagerstown Police Capt. Tom Langston said Wednesday afternoon the department is still in the process of piecing things together. "We're reviewing the body camera footage," he said. Police said in a news release that the girl was charged with disorderly conduct, two counts of second-degree assault, possession of marijuana and failure to obey a traffic device. The matter was referred to the Department of Juvenile Services. Langston declined to comment further. Robin Ficker, the College Park, Md.,-based attorney who represents the girl's family, said Wednesday that he met with the 15-year-old alleged victim and her mother on Monday morning and was informed the girl was riding her bike when she was struck by a vehicle Sunday afternoon. The impact, he said, caused the girl to strike her head and lose consciousness for about 30 seconds. "She was dazed, then she got up and realized she was OK," Ficker said. An ambulance was called and the girl told paramedics that she didn't want to go to the hospital. Ficker said police arrived and pulled the girl, who is 5 feet tall and weighs about 105 pounds, off her bike when she tried to ride away. At this point, Ficker said, a police officer lifted the girl's hands above her head from the rear and slammed her face into a wall. "Her face hit the windowsill," Ficker said. He conceded that the girl, who has a white mother and a black father, resisted when officers tried to put her in the back of a cruiser. The video, which had been shared on Facebook nearly 23,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon, shows the girl kicking at the rear right door of the police car, while it appears her hands are cuffed behind her. An officer can be heard saying, "put your feet in the car, OK, or you're going to get sprayed." The girl can be heard asking the officers, who are white, to call for a black police officer named "Zack." A bystander who is questioning the tactics of police is told by an officer during the video that the medics needed to take a look at the girl, whose parents were not at the scene, because she is a minor and cannot refuse treatment. "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 officer asks the bystander. " ... All we want to do is make sure she's OK." Another bystander claims on the video that the girl's face was slammed into a wall and says, "Y’all going to hurt her feet," when an officer shuts a rear door of the cruiser. At least two officers are seen holding what appears to be cans of pepper spray. The video then shows one of the officers raising a can to a crack in one of the cruiser's windows and begin to spray something. The girl is then heard screaming that she can't breathe. As this is going on, one of the bystanders taunts police by saying, "I bet if you took that badge off, you couldn't do (expletive) to me." Ficker said he tried to get the incident report from police, but he was told it wouldn't be ready for about a week. However, the girl's mother provided Ficker with the medical records from the child's visit to Meritus Medical Center on the day of the incident, he said. Those records show, according to Ficker, that the girl was arrested for failing to provide police with insurance information. Ficker added that after the girl was pepper sprayed, she was driven to the police station instead of the hospital. She was later taken to the hospital by her father, Ficker said, and finally had her eyes flushed to wash away the pepper spray — roughly three hours after the incident began. "The only treatment she got (from police) was slamming, abuse and Mace," Ficker said. He also alleged police officers told hospital officials not to take photos of the girl while she was there. He said police were considering whether to file assault charges against the girl, who, Ficker said, is on the honor roll at her school and has never had a run-in with the law until Sunday. Police said in a news release that the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of Randolph Avenue and North Locust Street, where the girl rode her bike into a moving vehicle. The girl was found to be at fault, according to police. Officers said the girl had to be detained during the course of the investigation and was pepper sprayed when she became assaultive. The girl was taken to the police department and released to a parent. Police said no one was injured. The officer’s body camera footage is being prepared for release per Maryland State Law, police said in the news release. The Facebook video can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/FickerLawOffic ... 354614145/



Hagerstown police releases body cam videos from pepper spray incident
Herald-Mail Media

URL: http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/bre ... b66c4.html
Category: Police
Published: September 22, 2016

Description: The Hagerstown Police Department released late Wednesday night two body-worn camera videos from officers who were on the scene after the accident involving a 15-year-old bicyclist striking a car on Sunday.

hagerstown-police-pepper-spray.jpg

According to a news release from the City of Hagerstown, staff worked for several hours on Wednesday to process the video in an effort to protect the identity of the juvenile in accordance with Maryland law, as well as the subject whose vehicle was struck in the incident. Body-worn cameras are constantly buffering a 30-second cycle. During the cycle, only video is captured. The video being released starts in the middle of a buffering cycle and has video only for several seconds before the audio begins, the release said. The video begins with body-worn camera footage from the first officer on the scene. The recording stops when the camera was kicked by the juvenile, and no further footage was captured by that officer. The video resumes with body-worn camera footage from another officer who responded, the release said. In addition to blocking the faces of the subjects, audio was redacted from two portions of the video. In one area, the subject whose car was hit references a relative, which could reveal his identity. In another portion, the officer provides the man's license plate number to dispatchers, according to the release. The Hagerstown Police Department will hold a press conference on Thursday. Time of the press conference is to be determined, the release said.



Protesters rally against Hagerstown police pepper spraying teen girl
Herald-Mail Media

URL: http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/loc ... ed1ce.html
Category: Police
Published: September 22, 2016

Description: A crowd of about 100 protesters, many carrying signs, gathered Wednesday along Burhans Boulevard across from the Hagerstown Police Department after a video was posted on social media showing what appears to be a handcuffed girl being pepper sprayed in the back of a police cruiser.

hagerstown-protesters.jpg

Police closed down a southbound lane of Burhans Boulevard for the group, which set up between West Franklin and West Washington streets. Some had signs with messages such as “We Want Justice” and “Am I Next?” Encouraged by the protesters, many motorists honked their horns as they passed by. At one point, members of the group chanted “All lives matter, but black lives are threatened” — the same phrase that appeared on one of the signs being waved at motorists. Among those in the crowd was 34-year-old Sallay Bangura of Hagerstown, who said what she saw on the video was “totally different than what they put out,” referring to a police statement released Wednesday. “It was too aggressive, and it was too much,” Bangura said of the police actions shown on the video. “What fear did they have of a (child)? It was too much. ... Something has to be done.” Shortly after the three-hour mark of the peaceful demonstration, a brief skirmish broke out in the middle of Burhans Boulevard, and a vehicle driving by backfired loudly several times, causing people to duck, thinking it was a gunshot. As darkness fell, police closed the street between Franklin and Washington streets and units with the Washington County Special Response Team were called in just before 7:30 p.m. as a precaution. The crowd began to disperse shortly thereafter. Earlier in the demonstration, about a dozen police officers stood on the other side of the street outside of the police station, keeping an eye on the situation. From time to time a few of the protesters crossed the street to talk with them, but the officers said little in response. City resident Steve Dillinger was among those who crossed the boulevard to ask: “Who’s going to let us know this will be dealt with?” “I respect police officers. They put their lives on the line all the time,” he said. But in this instance, Dillinger said: “There was no threat. ... To see something like this just breaks my heart. It really does. There was nothing positive about the whole situation.” For a time, Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito stood outside the station and watched what was taking place. He declined to be interviewed, referring to information police previously released. A smaller group gathered on the side of the police station, with a few people with signs of support for the police officers.
Peaceful gathering
Asked by a protester to say something to the crowd to quell their anger caused by what they saw in the Facebook video, police Capt. Paul Kifer and a few more officers crossed the street to talk with the group. Kifer said the investigation is ongoing, and the department looks into any incident involving the use of force, but all the officers involved are still on active duty. Many people gathered around Kifer weren’t satisfied with his statements. “That could have been my kids,” yelled one woman. Others questioned him about the circumstances that led up to the situation, and if anything would be done to reprimand the officers involved. Antoine Malone of Hagerstown, one of the protesters who was trying to keep the demonstration peaceful, told Kifer that officers need to work on fostering better relationships with city communities, particularly with its youth. He suggested the use of a community liaison “because this is not working.” Kifer said police heard about the protest plans via Facebook and tried to create a “safe, convenient place for protesters to come out and air their grievances and their concerns to the public.” “It’s a matter of just allowing them their constitutional rights to protest peacefully, which they’ve been doing, and I’m very pleased and very proud that they’ve been doing,” he said. “For me, it’s a proud moment to see this. I understand what their concerns are, and we’re addressing those in terms of the investigation part of things. But as for the actual protest, I’m proud to see that they’re doing a stand-up job and making Hagerstown proud,” Kifer said. He said the department was still in the process of reviewing body camera footage, which would be released to the public after redactions were completed to protect the identify of the girl involved in the incident.
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Police video shows officer pepper spraying Maryland girl, 15

Postby smix » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:38 pm

Police video shows officer pepper spraying Maryland girl, 15
WTOP

URL: http://wtop.com/maryland/2016/09/police ... d-girl-15/
Category: Police
Published: September 22, 2016

Description: HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — 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.
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