United States: Rochester police again in question after the arrest of a black woman

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NEW YORK | Police in Rochester, upstate New York, have been called into question again following the release of images of the eventful arrest of a black woman with her daughter, after two other incidents involving already controversial in recent months.

• Read also: Police officers suspended after having “peppered” a 9-year-old child

• Read also: The case of Daniel Prude, black American suffocated by police, fuels anger

Uploaded Friday, the footage, dated February 22, shows a police officer approaching a woman and explaining to her that the owner of a nearby business accuses her of stealing items a few minutes earlier.

She claims to have stolen nothing and spontaneously shows the contents of her handbag to the agent. But he refuses to let her go. She then begins to run and several agents pursue her before tackling her to the ground.

The woman manages to get up, and a policeman then sprinkles pepper spray on her, before she collapses. Separated from her mother, the 3-year-old girl screams for several minutes, until the officers reunite them.

The Rochester Police Oversight Committee, which only includes members of civil society, said it was “troubled” by the images uploaded, said Shani Wilson, chairman of the committee during a briefing. press Friday.

For the instance, there are “disturbing parallels” between this incident and another police intervention at the end of January, during which a 9-year-old child was handcuffed and sprayed with pepper spray.

“These disturbing incidents show that the Rochester police force needs to fundamentally change its culture,” the committee said, according to Shani Wilson.

In September, the images of the arrest, still in Rochester, of Daniel Prude, a black man in the throes of a psychotic episode, had already caused a scandal.

Asphyxiated by a hood placed on his head by the police, the forty-something had lost consciousness before dying a week later.

The forensic institute had concluded, after autopsy, that the death was a homicide, but a grand jury decided, at the end of February, not to indict any of the police officers implicated in this arrest.

The affair echoed those of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, also blacks, who died during violent arrests. Their deaths have sparked hundreds of protests in the United States since last May.