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Lawsuit alleges Colorado police pepper sprayed handcuffed 17-year-old girl

(File: Getty Images)

Colorado police allegedly pepper sprayed a handcuffed 17-year-old girl while she was sitting in the backseat of a police car, according to a recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed last week, accused three Colorado Springs police officers of using excessive force against the girl during a police encounter in October 2020. 

The police were called on the high school student and her boyfriend early in the morning on Oct. 17, 2020, as the two argued outside.

Officers Ryan Yoshimiya and Brianna Ragsdale responded to the call. However, the 17-year-old girl was hesitant to talk to the police officers, and they allowed her brother to take her back inside. 

Police received a second call less than hour later. Yoshimiya and Ragsdale responded again and found the girl “sitting on the street in a distraught state, crying and yelling,” according to the lawsuit. She again refused to talk to the officers and told Ragsdale to arrest her.

Ragsdale eventually handcuffed her “in exasperation” and walked the girl, who was “physically compliant at the time,” to the police car. However, Yoshimiya “forcefully” pushed the girl into the car, the lawsuit alleged.

Yoshimiya’s “man-handling” of the girl — who was a recent rape victim — reportedly triggered a trauma response and caused “extreme emotional distress.” 

Ragsdale and Yoshimiya then allegedly pushed the girl down onto the asphalt and put their weight on her, according to the lawsuit. The officers then put the girl in the backseat of the police car, where she reportedly yelled, asked to call her mother and kicked the closed door.

When Sergeant Gregory Wilhelmi arrived, he allegedly pepper sprayed the girl, who was now handcuffed in the backseat of the police car, twice in the face. Yoshimiya then closed the car door, leaving the girl in the fog of pepper spray with the doors and windows closed. 

Ragsdale eventually opened the car door, but none of the officers offered the girl any treatment for the effects of the pepper spray, the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit noted that the officers had no reason to believe the 17-year-old high school student posed a threat to them, as she “was an obviously unarmed minor, who was much smaller than the officers, and who was already handcuffed in the back of the police car.”

Tags Colorado Colorado Springs excessive force Lawsuit police

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