New video shows 9-year-old’s distressing wait for help after being pepper sprayed

A nine-year-old Black girl who was pepper sprayed by police in Rochester, N.Y., pleaded “please don’t do this to me” and “it burns” as she waited handcuffed in the back seat of a police cruiser for 16 minutes, according to new police body camera footage released Thursday.

The City of Rochester suspended police officers seen in an initial video, released Sunday, spraying a chemical irritant in the face of the distraught and handcuffed child. Mayor Lovely A. Warren said the city released almost 90 minutes of additional video from the Jan. 29 detainment in order to be transparent.

In the video — which was seen by The Associated Press but was not immediately available for publication — the girl can be heard wailing and whimpering that she wants her dad and saying her eyes are burning as an officer tells her an ambulance is on its way but has been slowed by the snowy roads.

“Officer, please don’t do this to me,” she says at one point.

“You did it to yourself, hon,” the officer responds.

WATCH | The previously released video (WARNING: This video contains graphic content): 

Body camera footage released by the police shows them interacting with a nine-year-old in distress after responding to a call for ‘family trouble.’ 4:19

An attorney for the girl’s mother could not immediately be reached to comment on whether she saw the new video.

The girl asks multiple times when the ambulance will come to clean the pepper spray from her eyes and begs to have the handcuffs removed as the liquid runs into her mouth.

“If you stick your head toward the window the cold air is going to feel nice,” an officer tells her as the wait stretches on.

“It’s burning too bad,” she says.

“It’s supposed to burn. It’s called pepper spray,” she is told.

‘Even more shocking and disturbing’

The girl’s mother said she called police during an argument with her spouse, but asked officers to call mental health services when it became clear her fourth-grade daughter was headed for a meltdown.

Video shows officers restraining and scolding the screaming girl, telling her they are losing patience as they struggled in the snow to put her in the back of a police cruiser.

The officers are suspended pending the completion of an investigation. Warren said she asked Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan to complete it quickly.

The girl’s mother has filed a notice of claim, preserving her right to sue.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the new videos released Thursday were “even more shocking and disturbing” than the video released Sunday.

“New Yorkers in every corner of the state are sickened by these actions and as a father of three daughters, I’m furious,” Cuomo said in a prepared release.

The harsh treatment of the girl came as Rochester police are under scrutiny for the death of Daniel Prude last spring. Police handcuffed Prude, placed a hood on his head and pressed him to the ground until he stopped breathing.



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