Consequences for Cops Who Pepper-Sprayed 9-Year-Old

Rochester mayor says law 'prevents me from taking more ... serious action' than suspension
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2021 12:06 AM CST
Police Officers Who Pepper Sprayed 9-Year-Old Suspended
Niya Shabazz, one of the organizers of Community Justice Initiative, speaks Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, during a protest about her outrage and how a child was treated by the police the previous Friday, in Rochester, N.Y.   (Tina MacIntyre-Yee/Democrat & Chronicle via AP)

Some of the police officers in Rochester, New York, who pepper sprayed a 9-year-old girl last week have been removed from patrol duty. "What happened Friday was simply horrible, and has rightly outraged, all of our community," Mayor Lovely Warren said. "Unfortunately, state law and union contract prevents me from taking more immediate and serious action. I will lead the charge that these laws be changed ... and we will be asking our state legislators to join me, and make numerous changes in Civil Service Law that would allow cities to more quickly issue discipline in cases like this one." Nine officers responded to the incident, and Rochester First reports one has been suspended and two have been placed on administrative leave.

It's not clear which of the involved officers are affected; none have yet been publicly named, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. The officers are still receiving full pay, as per state law, and the suspensions will be continued, at minimum, until an internal review is completed. "The suspensions, by law and contract, begin the legal process to fully determine what happened and what discipline needs to be enforced in response," city officials said in a statement. Black Lives Matter activists surrounded the Rochester police station in a protest of the incident Monday, Fox News reports. (See video of the incident here.)

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