I would like to share some details regarding an internet video titled, “If You Know This Kid Reach Out To His Parent’s....They Pepper Spray Him For Nothing” which shows two Norfolk Police Officers searching a juvenile after being sprayed with OC spray. The Office of Professional Standards was made aware of this video and an internal investigation was started immediately. It is important to note that the Norfolk Police Department is limited on what it can release when an incident involves a juvenile.
On Monday, October 8th around 12:50 p.m. two officers observed a juvenile walking in the 200 block of East 19th Street. High school dismissal time in Norfolk is 2:05 p.m. and there have been 210 larcenies reported in that area since January 1, 2018. It is the responsibility of the Norfolk Police Department to attempt to abate those larcenies. Under those circumstances, an investigative stop is appropriate. In the course of investigating this matter, one of the officers was struck twice by the juvenile. The officer then told the juvenile to put his hands behind his back, instead he placed his hand in his front pocket which resulted in the use of OC spray.
The OC spray immediately took effect, the juvenile removed his hand from his pocket and the officers handcuffed the juvenile and walked him back to their patrol car.
This entire incident was captured on the officer’s body worn camera.
Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, I believe that the officers use of force was in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Norfolk Police Department.
On Thursday, October 11th, I met with the young man involved, his family, and their attorney. During this meeting I permitted the review of the officer’s body worn camera footage.
As your Chief, I understand the concerns of the community in its relationship with law enforcement. I have and always will strive to improve this relationship with community engagement and outreach. It is important in these moments that we allow time for law enforcement to investigate these cases thoroughly. The urgency to know what occurred was understandable but I also encouraged patience for the facts to develop in the investigation which included information from you. It is evident through this incident that citizens were willing to come forward and partner with us throughout the investigation. This reinforces our mission toward legitimacy and mutual trust within the community we serve. Let’s continue to work together for safety of each other in all of our Norfolk communities.