Video taken at an Alabama high-school football playoff game between Prattville High and Central-Phenix City shows a Phenix City police officer grabbing and pepper spraying an apparently peaceful student spectator.
The footage shows Cameron Rader, a 17-year-old senior at PHS, being shoved back through a crowd of students to a railing. There, as the teen stands with his hands by his sides, the officer sprays him in the face.
“I had my back to this officer talking to a girl who was standing behind me,” Rader said. “The cop yells at me — ‘Hey son’ — and tells me, ‘Push me one more time.’ I told him I didn’t push him, and he like freaked out.”
“I was telling him to get his hands off me, to stop touching me, and then I asked what I did,” Rader said. “You can see that on the video. I have my hands by my side. I’m being compliant and he keeps pushing me. That’s when he maces me. I couldn’t breathe. It was in my throat and nose and the fumes were burning my eyes. And it hurt for a long time.”
Watch the raw footage:
Rader says the incident began when Phenix City police officers asked several Prattville students to back away from a railing in the stands. Rader said he wasn’t standing by the railing, but once that row of students moved back, there was no one between him and the police officers.
“This cop in front of me is just staring me and my friends down for absolutely no reason and saying things like, ‘I’m not a cop you can mess with,’ and I just started laughing, because it was crazy,” Rader said. “When I laughed, he said, ‘Oh, you think this is funny? Do you see me laughing?’ I told him no sir.”
Rader said the brief confrontation ended at that point and he turned to begin talking with a female student behind him. A few seconds later, he said the officer accused him of the push.
Rader and his parents have retained attorneys and say they want to know that the situation is properly addressed. Lawyers says they plan ask the Alabama Bureau of Investigations to review the video and formerly investigate the incident.
“When you detain someone as they did, that’s arrest,” one lawyer said. “It appears to me that possible criminal conduct occurred on behalf of this officer, and I want someone to examine that.”
After Rader was accosted, he was taken out of the stands and into a parking area where several police cruisers were parked. He was ultimately released without being jailed however, after his schools principle intervened with the officers.
Radar maintains he never touched the officer.
Police State Daily attempts to reach Phenix City police were unsuccessful.