Video shows officer pepper spraying handcuffed teens in custody

Posted at 4:14 PM, May 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-15 16:19:45-04

Alton, IL (KMOV) -- Illinois state authorities said they are investigating after a video surfaced showing an Alton police officer pepper spraying two teens in handcuffs at Alton Police headquarters.

The video, dated January 26, 2015, shows two teens sitting in a holding area at the Alton Police Department. An officer then walks in, says something, and then pulls out what appears to be a can of pepper spray and sprays both teens. One of the teens then twitches and shakes for several minutes.

"It's infuriating to me to see this officer coming in and spraying these kids who are handcuffed," said James Gray, President of the Alton NAACP.

Gray showed the video to News 4 after receiving it in the mail. Gray said he does not like the way Alton Police Chief Jason Simmons is running the department. Simmons future will soon be by the Alton Board of Aldermen, who will decide whether to re-appoint him.

"He's up for re-appointment but I do not think he should be reappointed, he has to know about this and possibly many more things like this they haven't sent to me," Gray said.

Simmons said he has known about the incident since March when a high ranking officer told him what took place. Simmons said it then took two months for officers to write a report on the incident, which he said he received May 6.

"It raised a red flag and appears to be a very serious issue. However, it will be investigated by internal affairs and everything will be looked over before any type of discipline will be issued," Simmons said.

Simmons told News 4 he is upset that his officers were slow in reporting the incident to him. He believes the delay may be due to the fact that many officers do not like some of the reforms he has put in place, and are therefore trying to find a way to oust him from his post.