Bodycam videos released on Sunday show police officers using pepper spray on a 9-year-old girl after she threatened to commit suicide.
Cops with the Rochester Police Department were told by the mother, the girl’s custodial parent, that she was suicidal and wanted to harm not only herself but also others, the Democrat and Chronicle said.
Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson said at a news conference on Sunday: “She indicated she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom.”
Officers said that the 9-year-old was taken to a local hospital after she was pepper-sprayed to receive “the services and care that she needed.”
Two bodycam videos of the incident were released by police, with the first clip showing officers searching for the girl after she had run away from home.
Officers managed to catch up with the 9-year-old and told her not to run but she claimed that her mother attacked her father while they were fighting on the porch.
“That was my blood that you seen off of my lip,” the mom told her daughter.
The daughter and mother continued to argue before the parent said: “You watch this man put his hands on me all the time. ALL THE TIME.”
Police then asked the mother if she had stabbed the father, and the daughter quickly replied: “Yes, she did.”
The mother screamed: “I got custody. You’re my child. So you’re going to take you’re a** home right now.”
“I want my dad. I want my dad,” the daughter shouted at cops who tried to stop her from running away.
The daughter struggled with the female officer, who said: “I’m going to pepper spray you and I don’t want to. So sit back. Come on, this is your last chance or pepper spray is going into your eyeballs. Come on, let’s go.”
A male officer then said: “Dear, just stop for a second and take a deep breath,” adding: “Just spray her at this point.”
The female officer shook a can of pepper spray and used it n the girl’s face.
“I’m very concerned about how this young girl was handled by our police department. It is clear from the video we need to do more in support of our children and families,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.
Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said that it wasn’t right to have the girl pepper-sprayed.
“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,” she said.
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