New York Police released bodycam video of officer pepper-spraying a 9-year-old girl in Rochester
New York Police released a video of a police officer pepper-spraying a handcuffed 9-year-old girl after responding to a family distress call. The more police footage of the incident is expected to be released.
The incident happened in Rochester, New York, on Friday. The officers responded to a family disturbance and a possible stolen car and found a girl in distress. Police said the child also expressed suicidal thoughts and was acting aggressive against her mother.
The officers attempted to restrain her but she resisted. She “thrashed around” and reportedly kicked an officer. A cop eventually used a pepper-spray. AGAINST A 9-YEAR-OLD CHILD! Then they placed the girl in a patrol car.
“I want my dad!” the girl can be heard crying.
The girl was later transported to Rochester General Hospital and later released.
The bodycam footage of the incident was released and published within 48 hours, according to new police policy.
"I'm not going to stand here and tell you that for a 9-year-old to have to be pepper-sprayed is OK. It's not," interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said condemning the cop’s actions. "I don't see that as who we are as a department, and we're going to do the work we have to do to ensure that these kinds of things don't happen."
But Rochester police union President Mike Mazzeo looked at the case from a different angle and defended the officer’s actions.
"Had they had to go and push further, and use more force, there's a good chance she could have been hurt worse. It's very very difficult to get someone in the back of a police car like that," Mazzeo explained.
The officer involved in the incident was suspended, according to a city official.
"I'm not saying there are not better ways to do things. But let's be realistic about what we're facing," he added. "It's not TV, it's not Hollywood."
On Monday, hundreds of people took to the streets in a protest march in Rochester. Some of the protestors were seen overturning barricades at a local police starion.
Hundreds of protesters were also documented on a march in Rochester on Monday. Several were seen overturning barricades at a Rochester police station.
It was reported that Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren fired the police chief, saying there was a “pervasive problem” in the department. The mayor felt emotional about the incident as the girl in the video reminded her of her own daughter.
"I have a 10-year-old daughter. So she's a child; she's a baby. And I can tell you that this video, as a mother, is not anything that you want to see. It's not," Warren said. "We have to understand compassion, empathy. When you have a child that is suffering in this way, and calling out for her dad, I saw my baby's face in her face."
However, the incident had positive outcomes. At first, the girl didn’t suffer any serious injuries, and the second, the incident forced the state lawmakers to authorize a bill prohibiting police to use pepper-spray and other chemical agents on a person under 18.