The Rochester Police Department released body-cam footage Sunday showing a 9-year-old girl being apprehended and sprayed with an irritant following a family trouble call.
Officers said on January 29, a woman at the home on Avenue B walked up to them on and her daughter was going to harm herself and others, then ran from the home. When police found the girl on Harris Street, they stopped her and told her to get into the backseat of a patrol car.
According to police and corroborating body camera video, the girl became agitated when she saw her mother and refused to cooperate with police.
Video shows the girl then being handcuffed, forcibly being put into the back of the patrol car, and sprayed with pepper spray.
“It is clear from the video that we need to do more supporting our children and families,” Mayor Lovely Warren said at a Sunday morning press conference.
The department is conducting an internal review following the incident.
The girl was treated at Rochester General Hospital as part of a mental hygiene protocol, then was released to her family.
Michael Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club Union, said the situation was complicated and what the police did on scene shows the need of leadership to show officers what they can and can’t do in such a situation.
“This is not about lack of compassion or empathy,” Mazzeo said during a press conference Sunday. “We’re dealing with a very difficult situation and what officers are confronted with and face and the very limited resources that are out there.”
“It’s easy for some to look back, be given some information, and then criticize…we can look at this and say what can we do better,” he added.
13WHAM will update this story with more information as it becomes available.