TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Police bodycam footage shows officers in Rochester, New York pepper spraying a 9-year-old girl handcuffed in the back of a police car and crying for her father.
An internal review was launched after a police officer was filmed pepper-spraying the minor who was sitting in the back of a patrol car. Police claimed the girl was suicidal and threatened to kill her mother.
During the incident, which occurred Friday afternoon, officers restrained the girl, pushing her into the snow in order to handcuff her, while she screamed repeatedly for her father.
A minute-long bodycam video shows the girl in handcuffs sitting in the back of a police car. She is distressed and does not appear to be following the officers’ commands. The clip was edited to blur the girl’s face.
“Come on. I’m gonna pepper spray you, and I don’t want to, so sit back. Come on, this is your last chance, otherwise pepper spray is going in your eyeballs. Come on, let’s go,” an officer says.
“I want my dad,” the sobbing girl pleads, to which a female officer replies: “I’m gonna go get him.” She adds: “I will fix it,” apparently referring to the cuffs.
Another officer joins in, asking the girl to “just stop for a second and take a deep breath.”
She is then heard screaming: “Please no! Stop!” The officer soon takes out a spray can and points it at the girl’s face.
“It went into my eye! Please!” the girl yells, as the officer is heard telling his colleague: “I got her, I got her.” He then closes the car door from the outside, steps away from the vehicle and lets out a sigh. He calmly adds: “Unbelievable.”
According to the local newspaper Democrat and Chronicle, police were called in for “family trouble” involving a potentially stolen vehicle. They were then approached by the custodial parents of the girl, who said she feared that the minor would hurt herself and others. The girl was said to have run away from home before being apprehended on a nearby street.
Police said the minor became “agitated” and began to pull away and kick the officers when she saw her custodial parent. The girl was then handcuffed for her own “safety,” and at the request of the parent. The child remained non-compliant, refusing to put her feet in the car, which “required an officer to use an irritant on the minor,” police said.
The girl was then taken to a hospital and later released to her family.
Rochester Police Captain Mark Mura said that the incident is currently under review.
The incident has brought renewed scrutiny to the Rochester Police Department, months after the city was roiled by the disclosure that Daniel Prude, a Black man, suffocated to death last year after Rochester police officers had placed him in a hood.
The handling of Prude’s death prompted the city’s mayor to abruptly fire the police chief in September, and the department faced accusations of a cover-up after it was revealed that officers had characterized Prude’s death as the result of a drug overdose.