New York police officers suspended after video shows handcuffed 9-year-old 'pepper-sprayed'

This video contains distressing images
  • Video shows officers 'pepper-spraying' nine-year-old girl in Rochester, New York

Police officers in the US have been suspended after a video emerged appearing to show them pepper-spraying and handcuffing a nine-year-old girl.

Following public outrage at the body camera footage released on Sunday, officials at the city of Rochester, New York suspended the officers involved until an internal investigation is completed.

The footage shows officers restraining the child as they attempt to get her into a car.

The girl repeatedly screams: "I want my dad."

At one point, an officer is heard telling her to “stop acting like a child” to which she cried, “I am a child”.

Screen grab of body cam footage showing a young girl being restrained by police in Rochester, US Credit: Rochester Police Department

The video shows numerous police officers involved.

After being restrained on the ground, the girl, wearing flowered leggings and a black sweatshirt, asks: “Can you please get the snow off of me? It’s cold”.

“You had your chance,” one officer tells her, while another shouts: “Get in the car now!”

When the girl is in the car she is heard screaming: "You said you were going to pepper spray me."

A police officer can then be heard telling his colleague to "just spray her at this point", while the girl yells "stop".

Police said officers were responding to a report of “family trouble” on Friday.

A police officer seen holding a can that appears to be pepper spray Credit: Rochester Police Department

Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement: “What happened Friday was simply horrible, and has rightly outraged all of our community.

“Unfortunately, state law and union contract prevents me from taking more immediate and serious action.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Monday her office was “looking into” what happened.

She said the incident was “deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable.”

The video appears to show the girl being sprayed with chemical "irritant" when she is in the car Credit: Rochester Police Department

State governor Andrew Cuomo condemned the officers’ actions.

He said: “As a human, this incident is disturbing and as a father, it’s heartbreaking. This isn’t how the police should treat anyone, let alone a nine-year-old girl.”

The city did not specify how many officers were suspended.

At a news conference, Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson described the girl as suicidal.

She was eventually taken to Rochester General Hospital and later released to her family.

The day after the incident, the police said the girl disobeyed commands to put her feet in the car.

An officer was then “required” to spray an “irritant” in the handcuffed girl’s face, the department said.