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23 Sep, 2016 12:46

Body cam shows 15yo girl pepper-sprayed by Maryland police during arrest (VIDEO)

Body cam shows 15yo girl pepper-sprayed by Maryland police during arrest (VIDEO)

Police in Maryland have defended the pepper-spraying arrest of a 15-year-old girl as “justified” after police body-cam footage of the incident sparked protests.

The black teenager was arrested last Sunday by Hagerstown Police for “not cooperating” with officers after she allegedly hit a moving car with her bicycle.

Police released two officer bodycam videos of the incident Wednesday. In the footage, the girl refuses questioning and attempts to cycle away from officers who then pull her off the bike by her backpack and forcibly handcuff her hands behind her back.

The young girl repeatedly yells “don’t touch me” and starts to become panicked and hysterical as officers physically restrain her on the ground.

Eventually police carry the girl to a squad car and when she won’t put her legs inside the vehicle, they pepper-spray her.

Police and bystander footage of the incident prompted a demonstration outside Hagerstown police headquarters on Thursday of about 100 people who say the police used unnecessary force.

The girl’s identity has not been released as she is a juvenile, but the teen’s mother has said her daughter was briefly knocked unconscious in the bike crash, and was scared and confused when tackled by police.

The mother accused the officers of “aggression from the get-go,” reports AP.

READ MORE: Korryn Gaines’ family sues Baltimore for deadly confrontation

"I feel that it could have been handled better on her part, but I don't know that she was even in the right frame of mind. The child was knocked unconscious," the girl’s mother, who wishes to remain unnamed, told reporters.

The family’s attorney, Robin Flicker, said that the 5ft (1.5 meter), 105lb (48kg) girl was “brutalized by Hagerstown police”.

Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito said officers did initially try to de-escalate the situation and used pepper-spray only as a “last resort” to get the girl in the car.

The teenager has been charged as a juvenile with assault, disorderly conduct, a traffic violation and marijuana possession.