The Rochester police officers involved in the pepper-spraying of a 9-year-old girl have been suspended with pay — as state prosecutors announced they are looking into the incident Monday.
City officials did not say which officers — or how many — had been suspended but said they will remain off the beat pending the results of an internal investigation into Friday’s incident, WROC-TV said in a report.
“What happened Friday was simply horrible, and has rightly outraged all of our community,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, state law and union contract prevents me from taking more immediate and serious action,” Warren said. “I will lead the charge that these laws be changed as part of our response to the Governor’s Executive Order 203.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order calls for police reform in the state in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence over the past year.
Word of the cops’ suspensions came on the heels of an announcement by state Attorney General Letitia James condemning the incident — and saying her office was reviewing the events.
“What happened in Rochester on Friday is deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable,” James said in a statement. “Such use of force and pepper spray should never be deployed against a child, period.”
“My office is looking into what transpired and how a child was ever subjected to such danger,” she said. “It’s clear that drastic reform is needed at the Rochester Police Department to ensure that mental health professionals and child advocates are actually responding to people in need.”
The caught-on-vide confrontation took place after Rochester cops responded to a family dispute in the upstate city.
Bodycam footage released Sunday shows the girl growing increasingly upset and unruly when police try to calm her down but eventually handcuff her.
The girl struggles while cops try to put her in a police car, screaming, “I want my dad.”
One of the officers is then seen pepper-spraying the youngster.
Following the incident, the city’s police union came to the officers’ defense, saying they were confronted with a difficult situation.
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