The videos then show how the cops try to restrain her and put her in handcuffs. She then refused to listen to their orders and put her feet in the car, and at this point, an officer had used pepper spray on the girl.
Trigger warning: This story contains details of police brutality that readers may find disturbing.
On January 29th, officers from the Rochester Police Department in New York were asked to respond to a report of "family trouble," reports CNN. The officers were told a girl was "suicidal" and that she had "indicated that she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom," Rochester Deputy Police Chief, Andre Anderson explained. However, things turned really ugly and the cops ended up handcuffing and pepper-spraying a nine-year-old girl. Anderson added that the little girl tried to flee when the cops arrived, and two body camera videos of the incident released by the police department on Sunday show an officer first running behind the girl to offer her some assistance.
"It's very very difficult to get somebody into the back of a police car like that. And she's 9 years old. Imagine what happens when we have a full grown individual."— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) February 1, 2021
So that justifies pepper spraying a child in the face?
Then the mother turns up and it is understood that the girl and her mom got into a heated argument which prompted the cops to try and separate them both. But the girl refused to get into a police vehicle as the cops wanted to transport her to an area hospital. Anderson alleges that she threw a tantrum, "thrashed around," and kicked an officer, knocking his body camera around. The videos then show how the cops try to restrain her and put her in handcuffs. She then refused to listen to their orders and put her feet in the car, and at this point, an officer had used pepper spray on the girl. "It didn't appear as if she was resisting the officers, she was trying not to be restrained to go to the hospital," Anderson said.
If you’re physically harming rather than talking, you’re not de-escalating. By definition, de-escalation requires that you take no physically harmful actions.— Voluntary Cat Servant (@Fenbeast) February 1, 2021
"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." The bodycam shows the girl crying out repeatedly for her father while being restrained by the cops. She is seen screaming before her head is held down against the snow-covered ground and is handcuffed. At one point, one officer says, "You're acting like a child." "I am a child!" the girl responds. Later in the video, a female officer is seen talking to the girl, eventually saying, "This is your last chance, otherwise pepper spray's going in your eyeballs." About a minute later, another officer can be heard saying, "Just spray her at this point."
Why was the 9 year old child going in the back of the police car in the first place?— Benji Cardoso (@tony_horror) February 1, 2021
The female officer is seen shaking a can that appears to be pepper spray and the child continues to scream. The officers involved in the incident haven't been identified yet, neither has the mother or the child. Anderson said Sunday he was "not making any excuses for what transpired" and that the department is "looking at a culture change." The department is in the process of reviewing many policies and looking to make changes, according to Anderson. Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, during a press conference, said that the way the little girl was treated was unacceptable. "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," she said.
Listening to the body cam footage, she wasn't doing anything to deserve that. The officers very simply lost their patience! You want the country to sympathize with the horrors cops have to deal with on a daily basis, and then you terrorize a 9 yo crying for her dad? Great job! 🙄— ⟭⟬⁷Bonnie⟬⟭ᴮᴱ (@BangtanBonnie88) February 1, 2021
"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." Mayor Lovely Warren said she had spoken with the girl's mother and that the city's Person in Crisis mental health team would be reaching out to the family. "It is clear from the video that we need to do more in supporting our children and families," Warren said. She also said the girl reminded her of her own young 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."
In a country where being taken into police custody is quite literally viewed as a DEATH SENTENCE by many. She's nine and probably felt like she was about to be executed. Talk about scary. Officer impatience is out of control. The moment someone doesn't do exactly what they say..— JustAnotherManic2020 (@JustAManic2020) February 1, 2021
The mayor then mentioned how she's directed the chief of police to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the incident, adding she's awaiting the review by the city's police accountability board.