Penn. state trooper claims that he maced two cats instead
December 31, 2013
A Pennsylvania State Trooper is now on unpaid leave after being charged with pepper spraying his girlfriend’s 13-year-old son.
Police say that Trooper Ernest Boatright, 48, fired pepper spray at the boy without warning after he found him asleep in his bed rather than at school, as WTAE reported .
According to court records, Boatright denied that he maced the boy and said that he only pepper sprayed two cats sitting on the enclosed porch of their Menallen Township, Pa. home.
“Trooper Boatright vehemently denies the charges that have been filed against him,” Boatright’s attorney, Matthew Zatko, said. “He is very much looking forward to the opportunity to defend himself and clear his name.”
The boy, however, told police that Boatright had used pepper spray on him before.
Boatright, who had been a state trooper since 1989, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment and is scheduled to appear for court in January.
Overall, reports of excessive force by police keep increasing as police departments across the nation expand their arsenal of so-called “non-lethal” weaponry.
In 2011, a University of California, Davis police officer, John Pike, shot military-grade pepper spray in the faces of peaceful, seated protestors at point-blank range in what became the most infamous case of pepper spray abuse.
Pike later lost his job with the university but never faced criminal charges and was even awarded $38,055 in compensation afterwards .
Also, as we reported back in September, police often abuse Tasers by employing them multiple times  on a single suspect who later dies.
Instead of using non-lethal weapons to resolve situations which would otherwise be deadly, police officers are misusing them when force is not even necessary.