Police Forcibly Detain & Pepper Spray 9-Year-Old Girl At ‘Family Trouble’ Call — Body Cam Footage Released
[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
The Rochester Police Department in Rochester, New York released body camera footage from officers on Sunday, January 31, which showed them putting handcuffs on a 9-year-old girl, forcibly placing her in the back of a police car, and pepper spraying her after she doesn’t follow commands.
The officers had been called to the scene in snowy Rochester on a “family trouble” call, and once there they determined the girl in question was threatening to harm herself and other people. To diffuse the situation, they determined they needed to detain the girl for her own safety — but forcibly arresting her and using pepper spray?! She’s just a child…
That kind of trauma has lasting effects even on adults. Imagine what it can do to a kid under 10.
The girl, who was initially transported to Rochester General Hospital to treat the effects of the pepper spray, was later released altogether, according to City Mayor Lovely Warren.
Still, the body cam footage that was released is incredibly disturbing. In the video (which you can see in full, below), officers are seen manhandling the little girl, forcibly placing her in the back of a squad car and then, after she screams and cries for her father, pepper spraying her in an attempt to get her to calm down. WTF?!
Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson reflected on the incident to the media afterwards, admitting it has prompted a look at a “culture change” within the department. He further noted the girl was reported as “suicidal,” and officers had been attempting to detain her in order to get her to a mental health evaluation at the hospital.
“It didn’t appear as if she was resisting the officers, she was trying not to be restrained to go to the hospital. As the officers made numerous attempts to try to get her in the car, an officer sprayed the young child with OC [pepper] spray to get her in the car … We are not making any excuses for what transpired.”
During a press conference about the incident on Sunday, Mayor Warren (pictured above, inset) admitted that the incident was, umm, less than ideal for the city (below):
“It is clear from the video that we need to do more in supporting our children and families. I have a 10-year-old daughter. So she’s a child; she’s a baby. And I can tell you that this video, as a mother, is not anything that you want to see. It’s not. We have to understand compassion, empathy. When you have a child that is suffering in this way, and calling out for her dad, I saw my baby’s face in her face.”
Yeah, no kidding… so why can’t the police officers who operate with such over-the-top physical force see it that way?
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan also spoke at the press conference, and echoed that what happened in that incident was not acceptable. She said:
“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.”
Again, no s**t! But at what point will there be actual consequences for things like pepper spraying a 9-year-old?!
According to CNN, Mayor Warren has directed Chief Herriott-Sullivan to conduct a “complete and thorough investigation” of the incident. The Mayor has further encouraged an official review by the city’s Police Accountability Board, as well.
You can watch the full incident transpire just as the body cameras saw it (below):
Just so unnecessary! How do multiple police officers have so much trouble with a 9-year-old child that they have to resort to pepper spray?! Are they really that bad at their jobs?? (Come to think of it, maybe they are…)
We aren’t the only ones reacting like this, either.
“She’s 9” trended on Twitter early Monday morning after social media users caught up with the reporting of the disturbing incident. Not surprisingly, many people were outraged at the girl’s treatment by officers:
“I wish I could say I’m surprised but at the point I’m not. They done it to others before smh”
“She’s 9. I fear there is no level of training that can fix this.”
“Notice they pepper sprayed her and THEN closed the door. What, the door wasn’t there before they sprayed her or what?”
“Just saw why ‘She’s 9’ was trending and just, it still amazes me that the bacon brigade can’t handle something that most people handle every day.”
“I watched the video. She crying and screaming for her dad. Why were they not reassuring her that they’d find him? Why could this not have been done in a less harmful manner to her? She’s 9, this should not have happened.”
“Police contract be dammed, I want these police officers fired TODAY. There is no excuse to mace a 9-year-old girl, a child who was helplessly handcuffed & in your control. Enough with the platitudes & enough w/ ‘good intentions.’”
OK, calling it “the bacon brigade” is hilarious and perfect for this level of police ineptitude. Sorry, not sorry!
But seriously, these reactions aren’t wrong. How does a call to help a child go so wrong, so quickly?? We need better from police officers all over this country! We’ve BEEN needing better!
What do U make of this whole situation, Perezcious readers? Share your take down in the comments (below)…
[Image via 13WHAM ABC News/YouTube]