(ROCHESTER – February 6, 2021) – It’s become abundantly clear that we need to divest from the Rochester police department (RPD) and make immediate investments in the community. Last weekend, the Rochester police department released bodycam footage of several officers responding to a domestic dispute. The video shows officers violently escalating the crisis— first shoving a nine-year-old girl into the snow, then hand-cuffing her, and most egregiously pepper-spraying her in the face.
Disturbingly, this is not a new phenomenon for New York, particularly for the city of Rochester. Last March, Daniel Prude, a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis, was murdered by Rochester PD. We only know about Prude’s tragic death because his family fought for months to have the footage released — while Rochester police actively tried to cover it up.
Similar to Daniel Prude, This nine-year-old girl was experiencing a mental health crisis. This family’s crisis also called for trauma-informed care, not state-sanctioned violence. Although she posed no immediate threat, the officers chose to use a chemical weapon against a little girl who needed help. There are no words to fully capture our collective rage.
Donald, the six police officers have still not been identified. Three officers have been suspended, and three others have been placed on administrative leave. But because of a clause in the police union’s contract, no real timeline has been given to complete the internal investigation. And to make matters worse, a nine-year-old is being forced to relive her trauma every time this video is shared on the news or social media, and these officers are on paid vacation. This is a shameful disgrace.
As Mayor of Rochester, Lovely Warren appointed the interim Police Chief Cynthia Harriott-Sullivan, together they’re responsible for investigating this brutal attack and terminating those involved. The people of Rochester deserve to know the names of the officers and this child’s family deserves justice. We demand the Rochester police department be held accountable publicly and we’re calling on Mayor Warren and the Rochester police chief to release the names of the officers, terminate everyone involved, and ban the use of chemical weapons.
That’s why we need you to stand with us. Donald, by taking action, you will send a clear message to elected officials in Rochester— if police officers are protected by anonymity, internal investigations, and paid administrative leave, they will continue to harm Black people with impunity.
Sign the petition: Demand Mayor Warren and Police Chief Harriott-Sullivan release the names of the officers who handcuffed and pepper-sprayed a nine-year-old girl, terminate every officer involved, and ban the use of chemical weapons in their community.
Police officers have a sworn duty “to protect and serve.” And yet, they continue to cause catastrophic harm in Black communities. That is why we’re calling on the Mayor and Police Chief to intervene. Time and time again, we’ve watched police officers prioritize violence over community safety.
Until Justice is Real,
Erika, Malachi, Ariel, Megan, Ernie, Madison, Trevor, Ana, Mckyla, Ericka, and the rest of the COC team.
1. Rochester Mayor Suspends Police Officers Who Pepper-Sprayed 9-Year-Old Girl, Brakkton Booker, February 1, 2021
2. What We Know About Daniel Prude’s Case and Death, Micheal Gold, December 4, 2020