Rochester, NY — Over the years, TFTP has reported on Rochester police and their various misdeeds up to and including handcuffing little girls. However, the video below shows Rochester police in a new and disturbing light. Not only did they handcuff a 9-year-old little girl, they also threw her to the ground, and then shoved her in the back of a police cruiser while pepper spraying her in the face.
Over the weekend, police released body camera video of the incident which has subsequently caused massive backlash for the department. According to police, they were responding to a call of “family trouble” on Friday when the incident unfolded.
A total of 9 cops responded to the scene, essentially ensuring an excessive force incident would unfold.
When police showed up, the 9-year-old girl had left the home so they walked down the street to apprehend and bring her back. However, the girl did not want to return.
At a news conference Sunday, Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson described the girl as suicidal.
“She indicated she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom,” he said.
When the girl would not get in the car with police, they began escalating force. It was a scene akin to a kidnapping as the girl screams for her father to help her while her assailants drag her away.
During the struggle, one of the cops can be heard scolding the girl, telling her to “stop acting like a child!”
In a statement Saturday, the police department said this action “required” an officer to take the girl down to the ground. Then, the department said, “for the minor’s safety and at the request of the custodial parent on scene,” the child was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
Police had the audacity to say in their statement that the girl refused to cooperate and put her legs in the car so they had no other choice but to hit her with chemical weapons in the face. An officer was then “required” to spray an “irritant” in the handcuffed girl’s face, the department said.
Though the statement said the officer was “required” to pepper spray a 9-year-old child, the act was so egregious that Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan declined to defend the officers’ actions. However, she stopped short of saying the officer will face any consequences for the clear act of child abuse.
“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,” Herriott-Sullivan said. “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.”
Not only did they pepper spray the girl in the video, but they also threatened witnesses for doing nothing other than observing their actions.
“What are you doing? Cause you’re going to go to jail now too,” a cop is heard telling an innocent bystander.
“It is clear from the video that we need to do more supporting our children and families,” Mayor Lovely Warren said at a Sunday morning press conference.
“I have a 10-year-old child, so she’s a child, she’s a baby. This video, as a mother, is not anything you want to see,” Warren went on to say.
On top of the psychological effects of such an event, pepper spray on a child can be detrimental to the health of a young child, up to and including lung problems like asthma and neurological effects, such as nerve or brain damage, according to Purvi S. Parikh, an immunologist who specializes in pediatric health at New York University Langone Health.
For those who don’t recall, this is the same department who killed Daniel Prude last year.
In the midst of a chemically-induced mental health crisis, Prude was compliant and sat on the ground when asked by police and placed into handcuffs. Moments later, he’d have a hood put on his head while cops shoved his face into the pavement repeatedly until he stopped breathing and eventually died.
That incident was also captured on police body camera footage.