"I'm not going to stand here and tell you that for a nine-year-old to have to be pepper-sprayed is OK. It's not," Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said during a news conference on Sunday, per the Associated Press. "I don't see that as who we are as a department, and we're going to do the work we have to do to ensure that these kinds of things don't happen."
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has also addressed the footage, saying it showed a "child that was harmed" during the incident with police.
"This video, as a mother, is not anything you want to see," Warren said.
In a statement dated Jan. 30, a rep for the Rochester Police Department said officers responded around 3:30 p.m. local time on Jan. 29 to a "family trouble" call. At one point, the department claims, an officer was approached by the custodial parent of a minor "to inform the officer that her child was going to cause self-harm to herself and others."
The department rep claimed an officer was "required" to take the nine-year-old to the ground and "required" to use an irritant, later determined to be pepper spray, on the minor. She was ultimately taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and later released to her family. Per the press release, the department is going to continue reviewing all related body camera footage, as well as conduct an internal review.
The incident has many criticized by many as unjustifiable, including by prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also mentioned the 2020 death of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester cops when reacting to the footage on Sunday night: