The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. on June 4, when the Woodlynne police officer, Ryan Dubiel, and another cop approached a group of young people who were sitting on a porch. 6 ABC reports that while the police had received a call about teens smoking weed and loitering in the vicinity, the video shows that the officers said they received a complaint about trespassing from a property owner. When the cops asked the group for their names, they refused.
After a couple of minutes, one of the officers tells one of the young men to put his hands behind his back. At that moment, he had been contacting his brother, who serves as his guardian. Dubiel took out a can of pepper spray and sprayed the teen, also hitting one of his friends. The outlet reports that the officer also chased another person and sprayed them. A bystander recorded the video of the incident.
On Wednesday, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said that Dubiel had since been charged with two counts of simple assault, which is one of the most minor offenses someone can be charged with.
“Our Special Prosecutions Unit received the Internal Affairs complaint against Dubiel on June 5 and immediately began collecting all of the evidence to conduct a thorough and impartial review of the complaint,” Camden County prosecutor Jill Mayer said in a statement, per Philadelphia Magazine. “After careful review, it was clear Dubiel’s actions are not consistent with the State of New Jersey use-of-force policy.”
One of the kids, 16-year-old James Horn, said he was hanging out with his friends when the police officers walked up to them. “We saw it over the internet and stuff, but we never thought it would happen to us,” he told 6 ABC.
“My friend said he was going to call his brother and the officer said no. But his brother is his guardian, so he said he was going to call him anyway. And then the officer started pepper spraying everybody on the porch,” Horn said.
The Woodlynne Police Department has suspended Dubiel with the intent to dismiss him, accused of unjustifiably spraying Horn and his 20-year-old friend. Dubiel, who is 31-year-old, has previously worked for nine police departments. The two victims were also cited for underage tobacco violations.