Rochester Cops Shown Cuffing, Pepper-Spraying 9-Year-Old Girl

Bodycam footage out of upstate NY has department vowing to make a 'culture change'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2021 8:11 AM CST

"This video, as a mother, is not anything you want to see." That was Lovely Warren, mayor of Rochester, NY, on Sunday morning, reacting just before the city released body camera footage of an incident Friday afternoon involving the city's police and a local child. Per the Democrat & Chronicle, nine officers and supervisors responded to a call regarding "family trouble," with Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson describing a 9-year-old girl as suicidal. "She indicated she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom," he noted. The girl was said to have run from her home once police arrived, and they went in pursuit, finding her on a nearby street. Two videos were released Sunday, and in the first, the girl's mom is seen arriving on the scene and starting to argue with her daughter, at which point police officers say they tried to get the girl into a patrol car until an ambulance arrived.

A second video shows the child insisting she doesn't want to get in the car and repeatedly crying: "I want my dad!" Cops handcuff her as she's on the ground in the snow, sobbing. In a police statement, officers on the scene say it was "required" to get her to the ground, as she'd started resisting and kicking at them. The video also shows the girl getting pepper-sprayed when she wouldn't put her feet inside the car, which the police also say was a "required" action. As they finally shut the door on her after she was inside, one officer can be heard saying, "Unbelievable." The child was taken to Rochester General Hospital, treated, then released to her family. "She's a child, she's a baby," Warren said at the presser. "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," Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan added. Anderson says the RPD is reviewing policies on dealing with such situations and looking at a "culture change" overall, per CNN. (More Rochester, NY stories.)

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