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Rochester Police pepper-sprayed and handcuffed a 9-year-old girl while responding to a domestic disturbance. The incident, which occurred last Wednesday, was explained by police officials as being a report of “family trouble”.

Officers were summoned to a home to respond to a call in which they were told that a young girl was suicidal, and she had expressed the intent for harming herself and her mother.

When police arrived the girl attempted to flee, leading to the officers apprehending and using excessive force to subdue her.

In wake of the assault, the police department has released two body cam videos that captured the event. The video depicts the officers roughly handling the child, putting her in handcuffs, and restraining her. She sobs and begs for her father as the officers attempt to force her into the back of the police car.

At one point in the video, an officer snaps at her for “acting like a child.”
The girl retorts: “I am a child!”

In resistance to the officers, she refuses to place her feet inside the car as commanded. As response, the officers then pepper spray her. The girl was taken to Rochester General Hospital and later released.

Mayor Lovely Warren disclosed that she communicated with the girl’s family and that Rochester’s Person in Crisis mental health team would be in contact with the family. She emphasized that the actions of the officers were not permissible and furthermore that “we need to do more in supporting our children and families”.

Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, denounced the actions of the officers during a press conference on Sunday. “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…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.”

Rochester Police Department / Via

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