Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Thursday that there is no police brutality in Hong Kong and officers are only enforcing the law amid escalating violence.
She was responding to a question in Legco from Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung, who told Lam she was "the laughing stock of the world" and accused her of conniving with the police and allowing them to beat up young people.
"Do you know how to write the word shame?" Yeung asked her, holding up a piece of paper to show her what it is in Chinese.
In response, the CE said police are using the lowest level of force required to tackle violent protesters.
She added that she has seen the force being "smeared" and "demonised" in an attempt to diminish officers' ability to enforce the law.
In response to Lam's assertion, the Democratic Party's Lam Cheuk-ting said the CE is turning a blind eye to the problem of police brutality, and the force has been damaging its own reputation.
"She has been siding with the police force for so long and trying to harbour their wrongdoing. That is one of the main reasons that police brutality has been getting worse," he said.
A government statement this week said that if members of the public could only express their views in a peaceful and rational manner, the police wouldn't have to use any force at all.