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4 arrested, 3-year-old pepper sprayed in confrontation with D.C. police

ABC7

There's a growing divide between neighbors in Northeast Washington and the police who are supposed to protect them.

"This is not the police force I want in this city," Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green said.

Green helped organized the peaceful protest and sit-in that took place Tuesday night outside Nook's Barbershop on Sheriff Road, NE.

"We really just want to sit next to each other, elbow to elbow, and say you know what, the actions that occurred last night are not something we want to tolerate," he said.

The commissioner is referring to a violent confrontation that took place Monday night between officers and a group of people outside Nook's.

The incident, which was captured on camera, shows a large number of officers clashing with neighbors. Witnesses say it involved cursing, pushing, and even pepper spray that injured a child.

"It was just crazy out here yesterday. I was literally in tears. I could not believe the people that are supposed to protect us were going against us, it's really sad," Amesha Glover said. "Y'all maced a child! That's all I could scream is y'all maced a child!"

Glover says that child was her 3-year-old niece, Riley. Riley was in her mother's arms in the crowd when the family says police somehow pepper sprayed her in the face.

"We had to rush her across the street to get water to put in her eyes, she was screaming and stuff," Glover said. "I panicked. I said we have to go, we have to go."

Glover says they didn't want to put Riley in an ambulance, so the relatives took her to the hospital themselves. The little girl was released from the hospital late Monday night and is expected to be OK.

The family took part in Tuesday's peaceful protest because they say the relationship between police and the community has to change.

"No way we can feel safe calling the police nowadays, because they are disrespectful and they are really angry, for what reason I don't know," Glover said.

Green agrees, saying something must change. But he isn't exactly sure what the solution is at this point.

It all started back on June 13, when D.C. Police conducted a stop and frisk outside Nook's Barbershop. Video of the incident surfaced this week, and Green believes the officers' actions were improper.

In fact, he and others think the officers may have staged the initial search in order to conduct an illegal stop and frisk on a group of young men gathered outside the barbershop. He feels police violated the constitutional rights of the men who were frisked.

"I'm standing here today, sitting here today, with my people, to say no more. We're not tolerating that," he said. "We want respect, we want to be treated the same as other communities in this city.”

MPD Chief Peter Newsham has said there's been misinformation about the June 13 incident shared on social media.

"We're going to take a real close look at body worn cameras and see if there’s any inappropriate behavior by our officers, but just so people know, that was not an undercover officer,” Newsham said. “A BB gun was recovered from him, we identified him at the time, we could have charged him with a BB gun offense, but we did not."

On Tuesday, MPD issued the following statement to ABC7 regarding Monday night's confrontation outside the barber shop.

"We understand the tensions following the incident that occurred yesterday," the statement read. "Please know that we will continue to work with residents of the community, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and stakeholders. The most important thing is that we work together."

Police said there were four arrests made in regards to Monday night's confrontation between neighbors and police: three arrests for assault on a police officer and a fourth for threats to do bodily harm.

In addition to 3-year-old Riley, ABC7 has learned at least one other person was injured in Monday’s clash with police and taken to the hospital.

MPD says no officers were injured.

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