Boy pepper sprayed by police speaks out

A South Auckland boy who was reportedly pepper-sprayed by police during a brawl has talked to reporters about the incident.

Police were called to Lavinia Crescent due to an alleged stabbing incident and brawl. A video was uploaded on Facebook showing the fight, and the boy–identified as Ryan Woonton–rubbing his eyes.

The police spray me,” Ryan told TV One.

Police said that they used the pepper spray to control the violent brawl, and Ryan was caught up in it. “It becomes a mist, it’s in the air and people in the area can also be affected by the pepper spray and that’s what happened in this case,” said area commander Jason Hewett.

The boy’s father said that the response of the police was over-the-top. He told reporters that he was in the car when the police arrived, and witnessed assaulting his neighbour when she had already been detained.

That’s how it all started… There was no need for that,” he said.

He said that his son did not realize he had been sprayed until he came to him rubbing his eyes. “My six-year-old, he was fine after that. It was like 10 minutes… washed it out,” said the father. “It wasn’t only him, it was also my pregnant daughter. They were out here when it happened. It all happened so fast… it was too late to get them away from it. The damage had been done.”

The video posted on Facebook had different comments, with some condemning police, and others blasting Ryan’s parents from not keeping him safe from the brawl.

“One person said that I’m a bad parent — and he’s a community leader. And who is he? He doesn’t know what happened,” he said.

Three people were arrested after the street fight, with all being charged with “assaults police, obstructs police, and resists police.”