Security footage from a beauty store in Orlando, Florida shows at least one local officer pepper-spraying shoppers at eye level, contrary to a statement from officials.
WKMG-TV reported that police were called to the store after a large crowd of shoppers gathered there before it opened. The store was holding a promotion discounting a brand of hair extensions down to a penny for the first 50 shoppers.
“The officers attempted to gain control of the crowd and restore order,” police said in a statement. “However they were unsuccessful, therefore they sprayed over the heads of the crowd to gain control.”
However, the footage shows the officer aiming his pepper spray at a group of four women who are already backing away from him. WKMG video also appears to show the same officer shoving another woman to the ground.
“They’re the ones that bum-rushed us, and then we get pepper-sprayed,” one shopper said. “I don’t think that’s right. They didn’t treat us right.”
WFTV-TV reported that the first customer arrived to the store around 2 a.m. Friday morning, but that security officers were unable to establish a line as the crowd grew. Store manager Zaid Muhsen said that police ordered the crowd to disperse.
“I said, ‘No, don’t make them leave,’ and they pushed toward the door,” Muhsen told WFTV.
No arrests or injuries were reported. The department is reportedly investigating the officer’s use of pepper spray.
Watch WKMG’s report, as aired on Friday, below.
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