Video of Rochester Police Pepper Spraying 9-Year-Old Girl Watched Over 2 Million Times

Body camera footage of a 9-year-old girl being pepper sprayed by police in Rochester, New York, has been watched more than 2 million times on social media.

A video, released by police, showed officers pushing the girl into snow and handcuffing her as she yelled "I want my dad." In another, an officer appears to pepper spray the girl after she refused to get inside a police vehicle.

At one point, a male officer can be heard saying: "Just spray her at this point."

An officer is then heard telling his colleagues "I got her, I got her," before the girl screams and later pleads: "Wipe my eyes, please."

The girl, according to the police, had threatened to harm herself and her mother.

Video from the body camera of a male officer seen reaching into the vehicle holding a cannister, has been viewed more than 350,000 times on Rochester Police Department's YouTube channel where it was uploaded on Sunday.

Clips posted on social media have also been widely viewed.

2020PoliceBrutality, a website which aims to highlight abuse by police officers, posted one clip on Twitter on Monday. It has been viewed more than 950,000 times since.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump shared a clip—watched more than 69,000 times—on his Facebook page, writing: "As a father, THIS shatters my heart.

"You cannot justify this! It is madness... and we must demand change!"

An edited and subtitled clip, uploaded by news outlet NowThis Politics on their Facebook page, has been watched more than 450,000.

Other versions uploaded by local media, including Rochester's WHAM-TV, have been viewed more than 400,000 times.

Police said officers were called to the scene on Friday around 3:30 p.m. local time.

At a news conference on Sunday, Rochester Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson said they were responding to a call from the child's custodial mother over claims the child had threatened to kill herself and the mother.

Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan also confirmed the irritant used was pepper spray.

Officers who were allegedly involved in the incident have been suspended by the city's mayor Lovely Warren. Video shows at least seven officers were present, although officials have not revealed how many have been suspended.

Mike Mazzeo, the head of the union representing Rochester's uniformed officers, defended officers on Monday, telling reporters the girl "could have been hurt worse."

Protests have been held outside Rochester Police Department's headquarters following the release of the body camera footage.

The department was already under fire over the March 2020 killing of 42-year-old Black man Daniel Prude by local police.

Still from Rochester Police Department's video
Rochester Police Department released officers' body camera footage from the call out that resulted in a nine-year-old girl being pepper sprayed. The footage has been viewed widely on the department's YouTube channel and more widely across other social media platforms. Rochester Police Department / YouTube

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