Police in a Fort Myers, Fla., jail pepper-sprayed a 9-year-old girl in their custody after arresting and charging her with multiple felonies.
The trouble began Halloween day, on a school bus, when the driver told Anber Harris to stop eating the candy she’d carried on board. The fourth-grader refused, then allegedly attacked the driver, cursing and spitting at him.
After leaving the bus, she was reportedly seen throwing chunks of asphalt in its direction from the road side.
Deputy Iris Sullivan soon arrived on the scene and tried to restrain the girl, who ran off toward a nearby yard, where she found an aluminum-frame lawn chair and hurled it at the officer, police said.
The official report also says the student was verbally abusive, shouting at the officer, “F**k you. F**k you. Shut the f**k up… “I will f**king kill you — if you don’t get the f**k out of here.”
Sullivan was able to subdue the 5-foot-130-pound Anber, who was handcuffed and taken to a local jail. Police there charged her with four felonies: battery, for spitting on the bus driver; throwing deadly missiles — the rocks — at the school bus; battery of an officer (the tossed chair); and resisting arrest.
It was inside her holding cell, by then out of handcuffs, where, Sgt. Stephanie Eller said, Anber began to bang her head against a concrete wall. Eller said officers told the girl to stop, but when she continued, they pepper-sprayed her.
The girl’s mother, Dawn Hoshor, did not respond to calls from ABC News, but told local NBC-2 reporter Meaghan Smith that her daughter is schizophrenic and can become aggressive when she is without her medication. There was no indication as to whether the girl had taken her prescribed dose the day of the incident.
Sgt. Eller could not recall any similar incidents involving her young suspect, nor could she speak to reports about the girl’s mental state.
“I saw the mother waving around some [medical] documents,” Eller recalled, but said her office had sought no official confirmation.
There is also no word on the identity of the officer who pepper-sprayed Anber. Eller said she expects her office to file a “response to resistance” report, which would provide that information, but had no knowledge of when it would become available.
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