Rochester, NY, police have suspended two officers involved in the arrest of a 9-year-old black child and her mother. Images from their pedestrian cameras show that they handcuffed the girl and used a tear gas canister against her.
Rochester police are once again the target of strong criticism. A few months after the unbearable images of the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old African-American who was asphyxiated in this city in New York State following his arrest by several police officers, the videos from the intervention cameras of two other representatives of the police aroused the stir of the population.
These images, unveiled on January 29, “Show several police officers using force against a child – whose distress is evident – after being called for a ‘family issues’”, report it Washington Post. The 9-year-old girl was going through a mental health crisis, threatening to commit suicide and kill her mother. The police responded to this situation by gassing her with a tear gas canister, before handcuffing her to get her into their vehicle.
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Among the group of at least 7 police officers present during this arrest, two were suspended after this incident which “Once again draws attention to an already criticized police service”, underline the Washington Post.
The municipality did not release the names of the two implicated agents, but its mayor, Lovely Warren, herself African-American, described the images of this intervention as being “Simply horrible” and stated to understand the“Legitimate indignation” citizens.
Failure to respond to mental health crises
Like the treatment of this child, the death of Daniel Prude in March 2020 “Brought to light two issues on which lawyers [américains] have long called on the police to address: the institution’s treatment of black Americans and the response to mental health crises ”, details the daily life of the capital.
Indeed, there is only one emergency number in the United States, 911, and when health services are overwhelmed, it is often the local police who are sent in their place to intervene.
In September 2020, a 13-year-old autistic teenager, for example, was shot dead by the Salt Lake City police while he was in the midst of an anxiety attack. In the United States, people with mental disabilities are disproportionately injured in their interactions with police, as research from a Philadelphia children’s hospital has shown.