Anger after US police pepper-spray 9-year-old girl

Grant Boone
February 4, 2021

The scenes showed the police, who were summoned to the scene, trying to stabilize the child and stop her, then handcuff her behind her back before forcing her to get into their auto.

He said: "As a human, this incident is disturbing and as a father, it's heartbreaking". During the call, the officers were approached by the girl's mother, her custodial parent.

The mayor of Rochester, New York, announced Monday that police officers who Friday handcuffed a nine-year-old girl and sprayed her with pepper spray, in an incident documented by a video clip that sparked an outcry, were suspended Monday at her request.

When asked by a reporter about how police were being considerate of the mental impact of their actions on the girl, Mazzeo responded, "How about the traumatic situation that she's been dealing with". Body camera footage of the arrest shows a young child, who appears to be Black but whose face is blurred, being handcuffed and hauled into the back of a police cruiser.

Another officer then added, "Just spray her at this point", and she was subsequently sprayed.

The city of Rochester suspended the officers on Monday pending the completion of an internal investigation.

Screaming and crying, the girl repeatedly told officers, "I want my dad". "You're my child, so you're going to take your ass home right now, and you're going to take your ass in the house".

Some authority figures in Rochester have been forced to state the obvious: police should not be handcuffing and pepper-spraying kids. "It's not", Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said during a news conference on Sunday, per the Associated Press.

The officers in the video have not been identified and additional details about the incident weren't immediately available.

Demonstrators take part in a protest over the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester New York on Sept 5 2020
Demonstrators take part in a protest over the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester New York on Sept 5 2020

After the girl tried to run away, officers handcuffed her and tried to take her to a hospital in the patrol auto.

At least two officers seemed to be linked to the incident, which took place on Avenue B on Friday afternoon, when police responded to the street for a call of "family trouble". The young girl was released to her family after being treated at a hospital nearby.

"Wipe my eyes, please!" she cried out as an officer in the video shut the door on her.

Mayor Lovely Warren: "I have a 10-year-old daughter, so she's a child".

"You're acting like a child", a male officer can be heard telling the girl. "I saw my baby's face in her face". An officer was then "required" to spray an "irritant" in the handcuffed girl's face, the department said Saturday.

The city launched a "person in crisis" response team earlier this month, according to NBC affiliate WHEC, but it didn't respond to Friday's confrontation because the initial 911 call didn't warrant it, Warren said.

Flagler-Mitchell, who allegedly sent sexually explicit messages to a 19-year-old constituent, is now the subject of two investigations; a criminal investigation by District Attorney Sandra Doorley's Office, and a second from the county's Board of Ethics. "It's not", Warren said.

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

Mazzeo also said this: "Had they had to go and push further, and use more force, there's a good chance she could have been hurt worse".

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