Watch police pepper-spray 84-year-old woman in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Watch Police Pepper-Spray 84-Year-Old Black Woman in Her Own Home

Watch Police Pepper-Spray 84-Year-Old Black Woman in Her Own Home

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Aug. 27 2016 6:18 PM

Watch Police Pepper-Spray 84-Year-Old Black Woman in Her Own Home

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Geneva Smith, 84, talks to a reporter about when police blasted her with pepper spray on Aug. 7.

Screenshot/KOKI-TV

Police in Muskogee, Oklahoma, have released body-cam footage of the moment when police officers were apparently so threatened by the actions of 84-year-old Geneva Smith that they felt the need to blast her with pepper spray. An attorney representing the city has defended the police action as reasonable use of force “given the totality of the circumstances.”

It all appears to have started when police began pursuing Smith’s 56-year-old son, Arthur Paul Blackmon, for running a stop sign. Blackmon refused to stop and apparently led police to his mother’s house. They asked Blackmon to come out of the house and he refused so police entered the home and used an electrical stun gun on him while he had his hands up. Several other officers then entered the residence. It is at this point that Smith appears to emerge, seemingly confused about what’s going on inside her home at 2:45 a.m. That’s when an officer instructs her to turn around. Approximately 40 seconds later, the officer decides to blast Smith with pepper spray.

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Smith’s family says she had to be taken to the hospital and is demanding an apology from the police department.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.