The use of pepper spray appears to be on the rise this year with several videos of police officers using the aerosol deterrent on "Occupy Wall Street" protesters going viral online. This Black Friday, however, pepper spray incidents have been reported at shopping centers, including one in which Walmart security guards used the spray on customers who appeared unruly.
At a Kinston, N.C., Walmart, off-duty police officers were hired by the retail giant to maintain order during its Black Friday sale. According to Sgt. Roland Davis of Kinston Public Safety, the off-duty cops used pepper spray on the customers in order to "quell a disturbance," WITN.com reported.
A video of the incident can be seen below, with several customers nearby covering their faces to avoid getting the cayenne pepper-based substance in their eyes, which can be extremely painful, even when making contact from afar.
According to a witness interviewed by WITN, the "disturbance" involved a misunderstanding when the off-duty police officers thought a man who had fallen in front of a display of marked down cell phones was actually involved in a fight. The cops came in with pepper spray, used the substance on 20 people and made arrests, the witness said.
News of the incident comes after a woman in Los Angeles allegedly pepper sprayed 20 people who got in between her and a sales item she wanted. The woman used the spray in more than one area of the Walmart "to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store," said Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson.
"She was competitive shopping," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Here is video of the North Carolina pepper spray incident: