Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was concerned when he saw a videotape showing an officer using pepper spray on a handcuffed suspect in the back of a patrol car, says the Los Angeles Times. He is considering a review of the policy governing when officers can use the spray. The chief said the videotaped incident “may look awful,” but prosecutors found no crime committed by the three officers involved in the arrest in their treatment of the suspect.
The chief was uneasy that the officer shut the car’s door, leaving the handcuffed suspect alone inside, after administering the pepper spray. “My interest there is: Was that pepper spray used to control the behavior of that individual or was it used punitively?” he said. Police watchdog groups and the American Civil Liberties Union have called on the police department to reexamine when officers can use pepper spray, particularly if suspects are handcuffed. Current rules allow the spray to be used whenever a suspect is “combative,” but some say that definition is far too broad.