Police in Rochester, New York, have published a heartbreaking body camera video of an officer spraying peppers on a mother with her 3-year-old daughter, who is audibly screaming frantically and calling her “mom”.
The black woman was accused by a shopkeeper of shoplifting before the confrontation last month. When stopped by a police officer in front of the store, the woman denied the allegations and opened her bag. An officer can be heard saying to him, “Oh, come on, they said you stole, tell me what you took,” adding, “I don’t have time for BS. I’d better be fast with me.”
Then, when he ran away from her with his child in his arms, he chased her, ordered him put the child down, struggled with it and sprinkled with pepper. At one point, another officer arrives on the scene to pull the woman’s child away while squeezing the toddler’s arm. The first officer then addresses the mother. (The child’s face is blurred in the screenshot below.)
Police said the toddler was not sprayed or physically damagedalthough he was clearly extremely emotionally distressed. Another officer trying to reassure a desperate toddler is heard when a colleague asks him to lock the scene out of public view with his car because “it doesn’t seem right that I detained as a three-year-old child. ”
The officer concerned was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The unknown woman was charged with a misdemeanor and received a ticket for a desk.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren called the video “disturbing”.
When “events like this happen, I’m relieved to have provided body-worn cameras” to the police, “so we can see what’s going on on our streets and hold officers accountable,” he added.
The same police station, where one officer was suspended and two were released on parole last month after police sprinkled peppers and handcuffed the 9-year-old black girl at his home. Her parents asked for help when their child suffered what her mother known as a mental health disorder to the police.
At the press conference on Friday, interim class teacher Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan responded to respond to local outrage over the recent confrontation that officials believed police officers at the scene were within the department’s guidelines.
But Herriott-Sullivan, who called the confrontation “disturbing,” said, “Just because we can do certain things? Can we get to the same place using a different strategy? “
He added: “We have policies like pepper spray …. usually … if someone is physically resistant, it’s safe to use pepper spray. But obviously you don’t want to take it too far.
Herriot-Sullivan called on officers to “get access to certain situations with the least confrontation”.
The video also recorded that an officer was aggressively arguing with a person who was shooting the scene with his cell phone. “I know he has a job,” the viewer says before the officer cuts him. One officer tells the viewer to “shut up the hell out of here”.
The Rochester Police Accountability Board said in a statement that the latest recordings were “disturbing” and noted “worrying parallels” with the confrontation with the 9-year-old. The panel said two of the officers were in both locations, which did not reveal what role they played.
“Both events affected black mothers. They both involved black children. They were both obviously affected by black people in crisis. Both officers involved used a pepper spray on or around a black child, ”the statement noted.
Neither family crisis teams nor mental health professionals were called to either location, the board noted.
And “both obviously intimidated viewers filming the event,” the statement added. “Without the courage of observers who were willing to stand up and hold the police accountable, both events may never have come to light.”
The department continues to address the aftermath of the death of Black Rochester resident Daniel Prude a year ago. Officers placed a “cloak” over his head to subjugate him after he wandered naked in the street. His death was deemed a murder caused by “complications of asphyxia in the background of physical limitation”.
A video of the latest confrontation published by the police is a compilation of footage from various body cameras. The full video is shown above. It starts with the confrontation.
The police press conference on the case can be found here:
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