Pepper spray is considered a less dangerous weapon which police officers are allowed to use when they sense a threatening situation during an arrest. The main active ingredient in pepper spray is capsicum which is a derivative of hot cayenne pepper and it has been used for centuries as a mode of self-defense.

When a person is sprayed with pepper spray they will experience:

  • A burning sensation in their eyes
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • A significant amount of pain
  • Temporary blindness

Clearly, getting hit by a burst of pepper spray is not very fun at all. However, it is also not very dangerous to a person’s health. There aren’t many studies published on the long-term effects of being hit by pepper spray but there is a risk that pepper spray can cause a lot more damage to individuals who already suffer from other health conditions such as respiratory problems. There is also a fear that being sprayed in multiple bursts or being sprayed directly in the eyes may lead to permanent damage.

Pepper spray is commonly used by officers as an alternative to their other weapons. Some other weapons which officers generally carry around with them include:

  • Guns
  • Tasers
  • Batons
  • Pepper spray

Out of the weapons listed, pepper spray is one of the least harmful.

Under which conditions is a police officer allowed to spray me with pepper spray?

Police officers are only allowed to use their weapons when they have a valid reason for believing that they are being threatened by their suspect or that their suspect is violently resisting arrest. Pepper spray is considered a weapon, albeit a less dangerous one.

If a police officer needlessly sprays a person then they have every right to get in touch with a police brutality attorney in Norfolk, VA.

A lawyer can help a person lay the correct charges of excessive force and police brutality on the offending officer. If a person suffered permanent injuries or severe pain then they can also get compensated for their suffering at the expense of the officer.

If a person was involved in a misdemeanor crime and a police officer pepper-sprayed them they may still be able to take the case to court if they had been defenseless and compliant when they were sprayed.

A Norfolk boy was stopped and pepper-sprayed needlessly by officers

A teenage boy (whose name was not revealed due to him being a minor) was stopped by police officers while he was walking outside on Friday during school hours on October 10, 2018. The police officers ask him to stop but he continued walking. The police officers then grabbed him violently and pepper-sprayed him in the face.

The case was taken to court. However, the police officers were let off because the area in question had a high crime rate and that is why the boy had seemed suspicious to them. The family of the boy demanded an internal investigation for the case after the video of the boy being sprayed went viral on social media. The end result of the investigation is currently inconclusive.

If a person has been unjustly hurt by an officer then they need to speak out and take action against the way they were treated. Even if they don’t seem to win their first trial, a lawyer can help them file complaints to the correct authorities so that an internal investigation is launched and appropriate action is taken.