Media Contact

Arianna Fishman, media@nyclu.org, 212-607-3372

March 5, 2021

Second incident of RPD pepper spraying Black mothers and young children in weeks

ROCHESTER – In response to footage released today of Rochester police officers pepper spraying a mother holding her three-year-old child, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from executive director Donna Lieberman:

“Pepper spraying a parent who is holding their three-year-old is unjustifiable and inhumane under any circumstance. Though the child was lucky to be physically unharmed, the trauma of watching her mother in a violent encounter with the police will be long-lasting.

“No police department that routinely deploys tactics designed for physical and psychological torture on Black toddlers, children and mothers has any iota of legitimacy, accountability or trust.

“We call on the Mayor and her administration to immediately create safe alternatives to police response that deescalate, not inflict violence and trauma that will endure for a lifetime.”