Over the course of the last year Americans have been confronting some harsh realities about the police. The high-profile deaths of Breonna Tayler and George Floyd were catalysts, it seems, for a larger conversation about the practices of law enforcement in general.
But the going has been tough. The rigid institutions within the law enforcement community have stood fast against the partial erosion of the public trust thus far, and don’t appear to be buckling by any means. For every horrific, public incident, there are 99 acts of kindness, certainly, but that doesn’t make any of these stories any less awful.
The latest worrisome incident comes to us from Rochester, New York.
The city has released body worn camera video of a distraught 9-year-old girl being handcuffed and pepper-sprayed by Rochester Police Department officers, who were attempting to place her in a police vehicle on Friday afternoon in Rochester.
The child was later taken to Rochester General Hospital under the state’s mental hygiene law and after being treated, she was released to her family.
At a Sunday press conference, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said she was very concerned about how the young girl was handled by RPD and RPD interim Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said that her department was doing work to ensure this kind of incident doesn’t happen in the future. Mike Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, the union representing uniformed officers, asked for patience in this incident later Sunday.
The footage was widely shared on social media.
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) February 1, 2021
While a vast, vast majority of police interactions are peaceful and appropriate, incidents like this show that there is still some work to be done so that law enforcement lives up to the standards that we set for ourselves.
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