Video: Richmond Police Pepper Spray Man In His Home Through Window
*This story was reported by VPM News intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza.
Video footage over the weekend shows Richmond police officers pepper spraying a man who was in his apartment, shortly after having sprayed three other people on the street. No verbal warnings are given on the clip, and the man says the video was shot pre-curfew in the early a.m. hours of Sunday.
Although Richmond Police have not responded to VPM’s request for comment, a spokesperson for the department told CBS 6 they are aware of the video and are investigating the incident.
Mikhail Smith captured the video. He was inside his home early Sunday after protesting Saturday night, when he saw the group of Richmond police officers pepper spray the three women outside his window.
“They sprayed them in the face unnecessarily multiple times,” Smith said. “This was Saturday night. There was no curfew in place. They were not breaking any laws.”
He yelled at the officers, and then one of them pointed his pepper spray towards Smith and sprayed him through the window. Smith says the spray reached both him and his girlfriend, causing them to cough and feel like their faces were burning.
Video footage shows police continued using pepper spray on protesters Sunday night while Richmond was under a citywide curfew -- the violation of which was subject to misdemeanor. Claire Gastañaga, the executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, says police should be issuing warnings and summons before resorting to such measures.
“They are simply taking the position that anybody out after curfew deserves to be tear gassed, pepper sprayed and arrested, and that is just not right,” she said.
Despite these incidents, Smith says he plans to continue attending police reform protests in the future.
“This really isn’t about me and I want to make that clear,” he said. “Like I’m trying to tell everyone, this is about police brutality.”