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Mayor of Rochester, New York State Loveley Warren announced, on Monday, that police officers who on Friday handcuffed a nine-year-old black girl and sprayed her with pepper spray, in an incident documented in a video that sparked a wave of outrage, were suspended on Monday at her request.
“Unfortunately, state (New York) laws and the collective labor contract prevent me from taking faster and more serious action,” Warren said in a statement.
The statement did not clarify the number of police officers included in the decision to suspend them from work, but pointed out that the suspension of their duties will continue until the end of the internal investigation that was opened by Rochester Police into this incident.
According to scenes taken by a camera attached to a policeman’s clothes and broadcast by the city police on Sunday, at least 7 policemen were present when the child was arrested Friday.
Rochester NY police pepper spray handcuffed 9-year-old girl
What kind of useless cop are they that they can’t calmly get a defenseless little girl into a car?
She’s 9…maybe we just don’t understand and you were afraid for your lives?
asking “why do they hate us?” Really? pic.twitter.com/BpcLFRR17c
— Alicia Smith 💙🌊🌊 (@AliciaSmith987) February 1, 2021
According to Deputy Police Chief Andre Andersen, the girl, whose identity has not been revealed, suffered an emergency psychological crisis, during which she threatened to kill her mother and commit suicide.
The scenes showed the police, who were summoned to the scene, trying to stabilize the child and stop her, then handcuff her behind her back before forcing her to get into their car.
While the child was sitting in the back seat of the car with her hands cuffed behind her back, she was screaming and resisting. So one of the police officers sprayed her with pepper spray to burst out with screaming.
The police confirmed that their officers “had” to use handcuffs and pepper spray to ensure the child’s safety.
The video clip sparked reactions across city and state boundaries.
Dozens of people gathered in Rochester to protest the police’s handling of the child.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday that “Rochester must face a real problem of holding its police accountable.”
According to Anderson, the police officers did not want to shackle the child to arrest her, but took her to a hospital, which is what happened, and she was discharged after a few hours.
This is the second time in a year that Rochester police have been involved in violence since the death of an African-American named Daniel Broad, who was suffering from psychological disorders after being strangled by two policemen after being arrested in March.
Brod was walking naked in very low temperatures, when the police put a cloth bag around his head to prevent him, according to what they said, from spitting, because he said that he was infected with the Corona virus, and they kept him fixed on the ground by force until he lost consciousness, and then died.
After the autopsy, the Forensic Medical Institute concluded that the death was a homicide linked to “suffocation after my body was tied.”
The scandal led to demonstrations in the city and in the state demanding reforms in the Rochester police, and prompted its captain, Laron Singletary, to leave his post in September.
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