Bodycam video allegedly shows 'unjustified' pepper spray use

Body camera video released by the Camden County Prosecutor's office Thursday evening shows the moments before and after a Woodlynne police officer allegedly used pepper spray in an unjustified manner.

The video shows several officers talking to the group on a porch in Woodlynne, saying they received a complaint about trespassing from a property owner, and they ask the people on the porch for their names. Many of them refuse.

After about two minutes, an officer tells a young man who is sitting on the porch looking at his phone to put his hands behind his back, as the young man says he's texting his brother.

Several moments later, the officer deploys pepper spray at the young man, and then sprays the group of people on the porch. The officer then chases another person to the corner as he deploys the spray.

Prosecutors say the camera was worn by Woodlynne officer Ryan Dubiel last Thursday.

The Camden County Prosecutor says according to current use-of-force protocols, a police officer is allowed to use force when someone refuses to comply with an officer's commands at the time of arrest or when the subject threatens the officer's safety. Prosecutors say this use of force was not justified and announced two counts of simple assault against Dubiel on Wednesday.

Action News spoke with one of the victims Thursday night.

"We saw it over the internet and stuff. But we never thought it would happen to us," said 16-year-old James Horn.

Horn said he was hanging out with some friends on the 200 block of Parker Avenue last Thursday when officers approached.

A 911 call released by the Camden County Prosecutor recounts a property owner complaining about a group of teens loitering and smoking marijuana.

"My friend said he was going to call his brother and the officer said no. But his brother is his guardian so he said he was going to call him anyway. And then the officer started pepper spraying everybody on the porch," said Horn.

Dubiel is charged with two counts of simple assault, accused of wrongly spraying the teen and his 20-year-old friend. The two victims were cited for underage tobacco violations.

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By: ThisIsButter (44151.30)

Tags: pepper spray, excessive force