The head of the Rochester police union defended the cop who used pepper spray on an unruly 9-year-old girl, saying that “it’s not a simple situation.”
“I’m not saying there’s no better ways to do things, but let’s be realistic here on what we’re facing,” Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo said at a press conference, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
“It’s not TV. It’s not Hollywood,” Mazzeo said. “We don’t have a simple, be able to put our hands and have someone instantly handcuffed.”
“It’s not a simple situation,” he added.
The incident played out on Friday, when police in the upstate city responded to a call of a family dispute — and had to chase the young girl down the street in the snow.
Bodycam footage of the lengthy encounter first shows the officer try to bring the girl back to her home — but the child becomes increasingly agitated when her mother berates her.
The girl ultimately falls to the ground and has to be dragged into a police car and repeatedly screams, “I want my dad” while struggling with cops.
“Just spray her at this point,” one cop is heard saying, and the girl is sprayed.
“Please wipe my eyes,” she screams. “Wipe my eyes, please.”
Police and city officials said the incident is under review.
But Mazzeo said cops were in a difficult situation, primarily when the first officer arrived on the scene. There were ultimately nine cops dispatched.
“An officer there who’s dealing with the situation by himself until he could get information for anyone else to show up,” Mazzeo said. “What physical harm can you inflict on trying to get somebody into a car that’s got their legs wrapped in around the doors and is impossible to deal with?”