A video clip showing policemen restraining a nine-year-old black girl using pepper gas in Rochester, New York, sparked a new wave of anger over the police’s methods.
The girl, who has not been revealed, is suffering an emergency mental health crisis, apparently threatening suicide and the murder of her mother, according to Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson.
The policemen, who were summoned to the scene on Friday, handcuffed her before forcing her into a car and resorting to the use of pepper gas when she resisted, according to camera footage that the officers had, and published by the city police on Sunday.
The police confirmed that they “had” to use handcuffs and pepper spray to ensure the child’s safety.
Lovely Warren, the mayor of the black city of Rochester, condemned the use of force against a child and promised an internal investigation into police practices in the city.
“I have a ten-year-old, he is a child, he is a baby. As a mother, this video is not something we want to see,” she said at a press conference Sunday.
City councilors accused the police of using excessive force in a situation that required the participation of mental health professionals.
Local police chief Cynthia Heriot Sullivan admitted that the police acted excessively.
“I will not tell you that for a nine-year-old child it is normal to be sprayed with pepper spray,” she said Sunday, adding that “this is not true.”
But the head of the local police union defended the officers ’actions, saying that their” limited resources “left them no choice but to use pepper gas.
“It is not about a lack of compassion or compassion,” Mike Mazio said on Sunday. “We are facing a very difficult situation.” He added, “We are not in television or in Hollywood,” noting that it was not always possible to “tie a person’s hands and force him to obey.”
This is the second time in a year that Rochester police have been involved in violence against African Americans, since the death of Daniel Broad, who was suffering from psychological disorders after being strangled by police officers after his arrest in March.
Brod was walking naked in very low temperatures when police officers put a cloth bag around his head to prevent him, they said, from spitting, because he said he was infected with the Coronavirus.
They kept him on the ground by force until he lost consciousness, and subsequently died.
After the autopsy, the Forensic Medical Institute concluded that the death was a homicide linked to “asphyxia after my body was tired.” The scandal led to demonstrations in Rochester and New York calling for reforms in the Rochester police, and prompted its captain, Laron Singletary, to leave his post in September.
The death of Daniel Broad is reminiscent of the deaths of George Floyd and Briona Taylor, also of African descent, during their forcible arrest, which has led to hundreds of demonstrations in the United States since May.