The Rochester Police Department on Thursday released extended bodycam footage from an incident that took place in January in which officers pepper-sprayed a 9-year-old girl. Outrage erupted after the original footage emerged, showing the officers attempting to subdue the girl after responding to a call reporting “family trouble.”
The officers can be heard threatening the girl in an attempt to get her into the back of a police car.
“Listen to me — you’re going to get sprayed if you don’t get in,” one officer says.
Another said “get in the car. I’m done telling you.”
Despite the girl’s protestations, one of the officers pepper-sprays the girl before shutting the door. The girl screamed, “My eye is bleeding!” She was handcuffed at the time.
She said, “please don’t do this to me.”
“You did it to yourself, hon,” the officer replied.
The new footage is 90 minutes long, which is significantly more lengthy than the original 11-minute video released shortly after the altercation. The department released the video to honor its commitment to “being transparent and sharing all of the information and video regarding this incident,” according to Democratic Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
“I continue to share our community’s outrage for the treatment of this child,” Warren told The New York Times.
Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson addressed reporters about the incident during a press conference shortly after the original footage was released. He stated that the officers were told that the girl “indicated she wanted to kill herself and she wanted to kill her mom.”
The Hill reported:
Anderson added that the girl then ran away from home and was chased down by an officer. Officers then attempted to get the girl into a police vehicle for several minutes as the girl refused, calling for her father, struggling and at one point kicking off an officer’s body camera before another pepper-sprayed her.
Anderson said at the time that the child was taken to Rochester General Hospital and was later released.
The officers involved became the subject of criticism after the footage went viral. Many argued that they had used an inappropriate level of force against the 9-year-old.
Mayor Warren told The Hill that the officers involved with the incident had been suspended. The suspension will continue over the duration of an internal investigation of the matter.
Elba Pope, the girl’s mother, said the officers ignored her during the altercation even when she told them that her daughter was experiencing a mental health crisis. Attorneys representing Pope filed a formal notice of intent to sue the city for “emotional distress, assault, battery, excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment.
This story is the latest of several high-profile instances in which officers use excessive force to restrain young children. Of course, the fact that this girl, like the other kids, is black, which adds the racial element into the equation. It might be easy to dismiss the possibility that race could have played a factor in this incident – but studies have shown that officers are more likely to use excessive force in non-fatal encounters against black Americans than others.
As I said in my debate with Anthony Rogers-Wright a couple weeks ago, we will continue to see incidents like these as long as officers are not held accountable for abusing their authority. (See: WATCH: Jeff Charles Debates Left-Wing Activist On Black Lives Matter Receiving Nobel Peace Prize Nomination)
While the national Black Lives Matter organization prefers arguing for measures like defunding the police that would make black people less safe, most black Americans understand that the solution isn’t to decrease the number of officers in their communities. Rather, the solution is to address the fact that the vast majority of police who use excessive force are not punished.
However, the far-left “progressive” types are not serious about addressing police brutality, which is why they continue to put forth ideas they know will not make a difference. Perhaps it is time for the right to take a sensible approach towards dealing with this problem.