Rochester Mayor Suspends Officers Who Pepper Sprayed A Nine-Year-Old Child

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has announced that the officers who were responsible for pepper-spraying a nine-year-old girl last month have been suspended. Warren added that the department will also undergo an internal investigation.

"Unfortunately, state law and union contract prevents me from taking more immediate and serious action," Warren stated.

The officers in question responded to a call regarding a mother and her nine-year-old daughter in north Rochester. The nine-year-old girl reportedly indicated that she would do harm to herself and her mother. After the officers arrived at the scene, body camera footage shows the girl distraught and calling out for her father. In an attempt to get the child to a hospital, the officers moved her to a police vehicle. Once she is moved to the police vehicle, she can be seen with her feet hanging outside the car and in the snow. Another officer approaches her and demands that she move her feet into the car.

"This is your last chance or pepper spray is going in your eyeballs, come on," the officer said.

Moments later, it is clear that a substance is sprayed in the girl's direction. However, it is unclear which officer sprayed the child. At this time, it is unclear how many officers were suspended for their role in the incident.

***The video blow contains graphic material***

"I'm not going to stand here and tell you that for a 9-year-old to be pepper-sprayed is OK. It's not," Interim Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said Sunday.

This is not the first time the Rochester Police Department has been scrutinized for its handling of an incident involving a Black resident struggling with their mental health. Less than a year ago, Daniel Prude, a Black man with a history of mental illness, died shortly after an encounter with police. However, Prude's death was not made public until months later. In the aftermath of the incident, protesters took to the streets to express their frustration and multiple officers were dismissed from the department.

Given the department's pattern of behavior, lawmakers, activists and everyday citizens are not hopeful that anything will change in the years to come.

"The Rochester Police Department murdered Daniel Prude less than a year ago. On Friday, they pepper-sprayed a 9-year-old baby," Rep. Cori Bush tweeted.

"Recognize Black humanity. Defund the police and invest in our communities."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content