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Rochester mayor suspends officers who handcuffed and pepper sprayed 9-year-old girl

Top line

Rochester police officers involved in restraining and pepper spraying a 9-year-old girl this week were suspended Monday amid a renewed and widespread context, outrage police misconduct in the city.


Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement the suspensions would last until an internal investigation is concluded, although it is unclear how many officers were suspended.

Warren said that “unfortunately state law and the union contract prevent me from taking more immediate and serious action.”

In body camera footage released on Sunday, officers responding to a family disturbance call are seen pushing the girl over the snow, handcuffing her and spraying her with pepper because she refused to get into the police car and continued to walk away. scream for his father.

Police said officers were trying to take the girl to hospital because she said she “wanted to kill herself and wanted to kill her mother,” but the acting Rochester Police Chief , Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, has always said the actions of the police were not acceptable. .

The child was eventually taken to hospital and has since been returned to his family, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.

Key context

This is not the first time the Rochester Police Department has been the subject of a police misconduct review recently. Last year Daniel Purdue, a 41-year-old black man, died of suffocation in police custody after police officers put a hood over his head as he went through a mental health crisis. The chief and deputy chief of police resigned after the incident.


The fact that the police responded to a call for family disturbances renewed calls to use money from police budgets to fund teams of social workers and other community members to respond to crises. “The Rochester Police Department does not have to serve as the first responder in a mental health crisis that requires mental health expertise,” New York Civil Liberties Union noted in a report.