Rochester cops involved in pepper-spraying nine-year-old girl suspended

Protesters rally after US officers pepper spray 9yo girl

The incident led to protests in the community.

"What happened on Friday was just awful and it's rightly outraged our entire community", Warren said.

One officer involved in the incident has been suspended and two others were placed on administrative leave.

Dr. David Thomas, Forensic Studies Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University says once the child was with the officers, they could've managed to get her into the auto without the mace.

There was no clear indication as to how many officers had been suspended. "We will comment on this question after all [body camera] video and procedures have been reviewed", said police spokesman Capt. Mark Mura.

Rochester Police have been under scrutiny since the March 2020 death of Daniel Prude after officers put a hood over his face and pressed it into the ground. Mayor Lovely Warren later fired the police chief, saying there was a "pervasive problem" in the police department. A 16-year-old girl, Brenda Spencer, who lived in a house across the street from the school, was convicted of the shootings.

At a Saturday press conference, Rochester police officials did not release any policies on whether the procedure was required to subdue the child. "Otherwise pepper spray is going into your eyeballs", an officer tells her. She screams again and again for her father and says her arm is hurting. She declined to defend the officers' actions.

The Democrat and Chronicle reports: "A total of nine officers and RPD supervisors ended up responding to an Avenue B home around 3:30 p.m. Friday for "family trouble" involving a possible stolen vehicle".


A custodial parent called the police and reported she meant to cause self-harm to herself and others. In a released bodycam video, the officers are seen handcuffing this Black child, putting her into a police car-and eventually pepper-spraying her. She denied stabbing him, and asserted the father attacked her. Things escalated, with the mother getting right in the 9-year-old's face. So she's a child; she's a baby. The girl responded "I am a child!". The girl was handcuffed and sprayed with what the police calls a "chemical irritant" in order to handle the girl. An officer can be heard at one point telling her to "stop acting like a child", to which she responds, "I am a child". The female officer is seen shaking a can that appears to be pepper spray and the child continues to scream. At a community speakout held over Zoom on January 3, Breyana Clark of Free the People ROC said: "We have to remember that the Rochester Police Department, any police department, is an institution".

Just a week before this incident, Mayor Warren announced that a Person in Crisis (PIC) team was being rolled out in the city, with the goal of providing non-law enforcement emergency response to residents dealing with emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues.

Rev. Lewis Stewart of United Christian Leadership Ministry called for the immediate suspension of the officers involved on Monday.

It is not known how many officers were subject to disciplinary action.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Monday her office was "looking into" what happened.

The girl, who police said repeatedly resisted arrest, was possibly suicidal and may have been having a psychological episode at the time of the incident.

"Rochester needs to reckon with a real police accountability problem, and this alarming incident demands a full investigation that sends a message this behavior won't be tolerated".

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