The Rochester Police Department has found themselves under fire once again. This time for handcuffing and pepper-spraying a 9-year-old girl.
According to CNN, the incident took place last week Wednesday while they were responding to a call about a “family problem,” and the department released the body camera footage on Sunday. In the footage, officers could be seen trying to restrain the young girl by putting her in handcuffs as they attempted to place her in the back of their vehicle as she screamed out.
The deputy chief Andre Anderson said that the officers were reportedly told that the young girl was “suicidal” and that she had “indicated that she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom.” She reportedly tried to get away from the officers, and afterward, her mother arrived and the two were reportedly arguing. Anderson then said that the officers decided to remove the girl and take her to a local hospital.
He said, “It didn’t appear as if she was resisting the officers, she was trying not to be restrained to go to the hospital. As the officers made numerous attempts to try to get her in the car, an officer sprayed the young child with OC spray to get her in the car.”
At one point in the video, one of the officers could be heard saying, “Just spray her at this point.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, “It is clear from the video that we need to do more in supporting our children and families. 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. 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.”
Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan also said, “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. 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.”
Deputy Chief Anderson says that the department is “looking at a culture change,” and reviewing policies to make those changes.
If you recall, last year, the Rochester Police Department was under fire following the death of Daniel Prude. Footage showed officers had him pinned to the ground and put a bag over his head as they responded to a mental health incident.
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TSR STAFF: Jade Ashley @Jade_Ashley94