Two officers saw a 16-year-old walking down the street in the middle of the afternoon of Oct. 8 and stopped him because they thought he might be skipping school, Norfolk police said in a statement. During the stop, one of the officers pepper sprayed the teen, reports The Virginia-Pilot. Paramedics treated him at the scene, and he was released to his parents.
See the video of his arrest below:
Larry Ricks, 38, told The Virginia-Pilot he saw the whole encounter. Ricks, was reportedly on his lunch break around 12:40 p.m. when he saw a teenager walking down the street with his head down and hands in his pockets as a police car pulled along side him.
The officers started talking to the teen, Ricks said. The teen said something in reply, which Ricks didn’t hear. The cruiser braked, and the officer in the passenger seat got out and grabbed the young man, not in an aggressive way, but to make contact, Ricks said. The teen pushed away, saying he didn’t have to talk with them.
According to Ricks, the officer in the driver’s seat then got out and pepper sprayed the teen in the face.
“He did absolutely nothing wrong,” Ricks said.
After seeing the pepper spraying Ricks got out of his van and ran to the teen’s aid. At the scene the teen wasn’t fighting. Officers were lifting his arms up, forcing him to fall forward onto the cruiser’s hood, even as they ordered him to get up, Ricks said.
Ricks reportedly talked to the police about what they were doing and officers told him that the teen was under arrest and they needed to search his pockets.
Ricks then spoke to the young man and explained that police needed to search him but assured him everything was going to be okay.
While searching the teen, The Pilot reports officers found a pencil. One of the officers allegedly said “he could’ve stabbed me in the face with this pencil,” according to Ricks.
The officers also allegedly found an ankle monitor, which according to Ricks, they used to determine that he had been in legal trouble before.
The Pilot reports that the officer who used pepper spray offered different explanations for stopping the teen. At first, he told Ricks they just wanted to talk with him, but he “gave us attitude.” Later, he mentioned a string of break-ins in the area.
Now the teens family is demanding an investigation and his mother is demanding the two officers be placed on administrative duty, until the investigation is finished, family spokesman Michael Muhammad said.