Criminal Justice

'She Could Have Been Hurt Worse': Police Union Defends Officer Who Pepper-Sprayed 9-Year-Old Girl

Public-sector unions often protect the government at the expense of the people.

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The police union in Rochester, New York, is defending a group of cops who pepper-sprayed and handcuffed a nine-year-old girl on Friday.

"They were trying to get her into the car," said Mike Mazzeo, president of the Locust Club police union, at a press conference. The officer who pepper-sprayed the girl "made a decision there that he thought was the best action to take," Mazzeo declared. "It resulted in no injury to her. Had they had to go and push further and use more force, there's a good chance she could have been hurt worse. It's very difficult to get someone into the back of a police car like that."

In this case, that someone was a child—what's more, a child who wasn't suspected of committing any crime. Footage shows her screaming for her father as officers force her to the ground to cuff her. The police were reportedly responding to a family disturbance call, with Deputy Police Chief Andre Anderson claiming that the child "indicated that she wanted to kill herself, and she wanted to kill her mom," according to The New York Times.

Prior to that, she can be seen running down the street away from an officer on the scene.

He eventually caught up. "You're not gonna run away from me, OK?" the officer says. "Because I'm gonna have to chase you, OK? And I got, like, six other cars coming to chase you."

"I'm scared," the girl replies as she cries. The officer ultimately delivered on his promise, with the video footage showing at least six squad cars and seven cops, all to detain a nine-year-old.

The union's reaction shouldn't be particularly surprising. Public-sector unions exist to protect their members at all costs. That is, after all, the purpose of a union. Those of the public-sector variety have the advantage of monopoly control.

"Public-sector unions exert a disproportionate amount of effort defending their worst members—not just the ones whose performance is subpar but the ones who are actively malign," notes Peter Suderman in the March Reason. "Unions show their unwavering dedication to protecting their members' jobs by making sure it's very difficult—sometimes nearly impossible—to fire a union member, no matter what that person has done. It's not the easy cases where the unions demonstrate the strength of their commitment; it's the hard ones."

In other words, behavior that shocks the conscience can embolden such groups to carry on the fight. A similar dynamic is underway with teachers unions, many of which have doubled down inflexibly on refusing to return to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opposition to public-sector unions has swelled over the last year, with the left denouncing police unions and the right denouncing teachers unions. If only both sides realized how close they were to figuring out the bigger picture.

NEXT: A Pennsylvania Inmate Dies of COVID-19 While Awaiting Mercy from the Governor

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  1. “Prior to that, she can be seen running down the street away from an officer on the scene.”

    So, in other words, she was engaging in an insurrection. Shooting her in the face would have been justified, so stop complaining about the pepper spray.

    1. Maybe next time she will listen to authoritah!

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    4. Public-sector unions often protect the government at the expense of the people.The police union in Rochester, New York, is defending a group of cops who pepper-sprayed and handcuffed a nine-year-old girl on Friday…………..MORE DETAIL.

      1. If you watched the video of the entire ordeal you would have seen that this girl, though 9 years old, was very nearly the size of the officers, additionally her folks were clearly frightened of her. Apparently her mom had been trying to get her under control for some period of time, but things had continued to escalate. The reason for calling a whole bunch of units to a situation like that is to prevent officers from being put in a position where they have to use a baton or a bean-bag round or some other impact weapon against a child or a geezer that is mentally unstable. Pepper spray is uncomfortable, but every officer that carries it in the US is required to have been sprayed in the face with it so they understand the impact of what they are doing. I would encourage anyone who thinks they could have handled this better to spend some time doing ride-alongs with your local police department or next time somebody threatens you, just go ahead and handle it yourself. Your views may change.

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  2. Without sounding like an idiot, can you use pepper spray as a replacement hot sauce?

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    1. Yes, but it tastes terrible.

    2. Why would you want to put hot sauce in your eyes?

      1. You’ve clearly never had my mother-in-law’s meatloaf.

    3. The underlying chemical, capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide), is the same, but I wouldn’t if I were you. The people who make pepper spray want it to be as unpleasant as possible.

    4. I’ve had hot sauces that were basically pepper spray – and worse.

      Once, I had some Dave’s Insanity sauce. Mixed it up in some ground beef. Start frying up some burgers. Didn’t understand why my hand felt weird and why I was coughing and crying until it clicked – oh yeah, I just rubbed really fucking hot sauce all over my hand and now I’m aerosolizing it.

      1. I used to come home at lunch, work out really hard and then have Dave’s on a burrito while continuing to sweat. Unfortunately, since I’d sweat naked, I got to find out that dripping Dave’s on your dick is roughly like dipping it in sulfuric acid.

    5. Absolutely!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbSC_xjvElM

  3. Looks like Biden’s FBI won’t have a hard time finding dangerous “domestic terrorists”, as thousands of them showed up in Lansing this weekend.
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/let-us-play-thousands-rally-at-michigan-state-capitol-over-high-school-winter-sports-ban

    1. Not only an insurrection, but a conspiracy besides! And the governor was ‘threatened’!

    2. People of Michigan really need to consider who they’re voting for on the next ballot if so many of them want to kidnap the governor and/or are constantly protesting government actions.

  4. Biden enthusiasts at Reason remain silent on the Democrat’s (and their socialist and Big Tech allies) campaign to deny basic rights and freedoms for 75 million Americans (who voted for Trump), but parades out lots of articles complaining about one person (typically a convicted criminal) being harmed by the actions of a government employee.

    1. This 9 year old already had a rap sheet??! Well that changes everything.

      THROW AWAY THE KEY!

    2. What freedoms are those voters being denied?

      1. The freedom to post a meme without being indicted for it and facing a ten year sentence in federal prison.

        1. 75 Million people have been arrested for posting a meme? Has even one?

          1. Here’s a napkin, to wipe the drool off your face.

            1. Ha! ++

          2. One has, most certainly. Like I’m not even shitting.

  5. I await an article on Reason on the police’s killing of an unarmed woman at the Capitol.

    1. She was white, and therefore deserved it — in addition to the fact that she was part of a dastardly, violent insurrection the likes of which we have never witnessed in the history of this country, or the world.

    2. Look, she came in through the window saying she wanted to kill herself and her mother; you can’t just let someone like that roam free. A bullet is the only answer.

    3. She climbed through a barricade while a terrified cop was pointing a gun at her and screaming at her to stop.

      If anything the woman should get a Darwin Award, because it takes some serious stupid to do that and not expect to be killed.

      1. “Without the police pepper spraying her, how else is a 9-yr.-old supposed to learn?” – sarcasmic

      2. “[W]hile a terrified cop was pointing a gun at her ….”

        Poor guy.

      3. “…while a terrified cop was pointing a gun…”

        Cop’s point a gun at an unarmed woman, and he’s terrified?
        What sort of training did this guy get?

        1. I’m not sympathetic to the cop. I hate cops. You know that.

          I’m simply pointing out that when a police officer is pointing a gun at you and telling you not to do something, it’s unwise to defy him.

          When someone climbs the fence at the zoo do you blame the ape that rips them apart?

          1. Is there any particular reason that you compared a black cop to an ape in a zoo?

            1. The cop was black?

              1. Yes.

                But you knew that already …

                1. Nope. Didn’t know that.

                  1. Your mom knew it. She loves black co …. ps.

      4. Agree. What is amazing is people questioning the shooting of a person advancing on a police, but will then defend shooting a young black man running away.

    4. How about the guy the FBI arrested down in Florida and flew to DC where the DoJ indicted him for posting a meme on twitter in 2016.
      If Reason had their way the 1A would be replaced by Section 230.

      1. JesseAz’s “Reason didn’t say anything about [insert hobby horse here] and that means they really thing [insert strawman here]” shtick is stupid no matter who does it.

        1. *think*

    5. You mean the traitor who was breaking into the area where members of Congress were during a coup? Her? She got better then she deserved.

      1. Snipers are going to be able to spot your pink skrillex bobbing through the streets without any difficulty. Be careful what you wish for.

  6. And the Democrats who run the city are, of course, shocked that the police department they are supposed to oversee would do such a thing, and will immediately empanel a reconciliation committee to make recommendations that can be ignored.

  7. Maybe, all cops need to get chromosome tests. This reads like there were nothing but bratty little girls present. Like Russian Olympic competitors in reverse, are all cops really roided up bratty little girls?

  8. Free hat!
    Tell me one good thing about peper spraying a 9 year old girl!
    It’s easy…?

    1. Spicy tears?

    2. Takes less?

  9. The problem isn’t the police but that people call them on their own kids. This kid of egregious behavior is the inevitable outcome. If we end qualified immunity, the problem will get much worse as people weaponize their kids as human shields and swords to instigate the police in the hope of a payday.

    The solution is simply to end the wars on drugs and guns and reduce funding for law enforcement so there are fewer police, but of higher quality.

    1. The solution is simply to end the wars on drugs and guns and reduce funding for law enforcement so there are fewer police, but of higher quality.

      The first part would help, but it still isn’t enough. And higher quality thugs certainly aren’t the answer.

      If anything law enforcement should not be a profession. It should be a mere job, like washing dishes or something, that people pass through on their way to respectable employment. No offence to people in the dish pit. Parents should be embarrassed when their kids go to the police academy. When people stop deifying these assholes they might stop thinking they’re the solution to every problem.

      1. “If anything law enforcement should not be a profession. It should be a mere job, like washing dishes or something, that people pass through on their way to respectable employment.”

        There’s nothing a professional is capable of doing, that an amateur is not capable of doing better. Maybe we can also clamp down on medical malpractice by getting rid of doctors and replacing them with janitors.

        1. You’re comparing cops to doctors? Seriously?

          The job of a cop is to kidnap people. They call it arrest. Any thug can do that. Don’t need a PHD.

          1. There are doctors that kill babies for a living.

            1. Why don’t you just skip to Hitler and Godwin the thread?

              1. You beat me to it.

      2. Cops are well trained and professional. I think they do a great job and I really admire them. Of course there are a few bad apples, but they’ll get weeded out as the budget is tightened, like I said.

        You’re confusing libertarianism and anarchy.

        1. “Cops are well trained and professional. I think they do a great job and I really admire them.”

          That makes one of us. I’ve yet to read a police report of any kind that wasn’t a work of fiction. They’re liars who enjoy hurting people. They deserve no respect. None at all.

        2. Many cops are professional, well trained, and do a good job, but not all. Some people who are too dumb to make it in the private sector join the military for awhile, but don’t rise very far. Then they quit that and become policemen. If a nine year old girl is running down the street, let her run until she tires out.

          1. Sure, many do a good job. But it’s the 85% who give the good cops a bad name.

            “The officer who pepper-sprayed the girl “made a decision there that he thought was the best action to take,” Mazzeo declared,” saying the exact same thing he would have said had the cop shot her 14 times in the back.

            Has a police union official ever seen a bad shoot or called out a cop for anything? You really don’t need to include them in a story as their response can be assumed.

      3. Well you supported the wrong fucking guy for president if you didn’t want a police state.

    2. Sometimes parent have to call the cops on their kids. This sounds like a mental health issue and unfortunately we use police as first responders for mental health issues. We have first responders for general health issues, usually paramedics, we really need to have the same for mental health issues.
      While its not said, the police would likely have taken the 9 year old to an ER for a mental health examination. It might be better to have team go to her home for that assessment.

      1. We have first responders for general health issues, usually paramedics, we really need to have the same for mental health issues.

        Yep. Sending Johnny Football Hero with a gun to sort out a situation involving an upset child isn’t going to end well.

    3. “The problem isn’t the police….” No, the problem is the police, definitely the police.

  10. The cops allegedly told here she was “acting like a child”.

  11. When your only tool is a hammer…

    1. “You beat the unarmed woman climbing in the window to death with it.” – sarcasmic

  12. I’ve often pointed out that it’s not surprising when a union defends its members. That is their function as the author points out. But the union doesn’t hire police officers. That is the job of others, presumably not members of any union. If we can’t hire a higher calibre of officer, then maybe we should replace those who hire these bad apples, or increase their pay, thereby attracting a larger, more talented pool from which to choose.

    1. presumably not members of any union

      That presumption is so stupid I think it falls on the other side of retarded.

      1. There is generally a divide between union and management. I’m assuming the task of hiring new staff falls on the shoulders of management. I hope this clears things up for you.

        1. That presumption is so stupid I think it falls on the other side of retarded.

          That presumption is so stupid I think it falls on the other side of retarded.

          1. If you don’t want bad police officers, don’t hire them in the first place. Whinging about their union after the fact is retarded.

    2. I’ve been saying here for years that a lot of problems could be solved by requiring errors & omissions insurance, plus a professional bond.

      This would help defray the cost of legal settlements to the taxpayers, and render bad cops unemployable everywhere if there are repeated claims.

  13. New York cops are just teaching a young girl how the world works: Lie back and think of England

  14. Everything about that interaction was wrong.

    First, the girl made a plausible accusation of a felony against the woman (who represented herself as the mother, but I am dubious) and reported what she believed to be a serious health emergency, her father being stabbed.
    The woman responded by indicating that she was the victim of the assault — so somebody should be going to jail.
    Then the woman continued to try to intimidate the girl, i.e. intimidate a witness, another felony.
    The child is now a witness — but she asked to be allowed to speak to her father, which with a minor is equivalent to an adult asking to speak to his lawyer. Questioning must cease. I don’t know about the laws around detaining a witness against her will, but whatever they are, the authority of the police to police to do so cannot extend to holding her while the suspect screams threats at her.
    Then, the mother starts uttering threats against passersby, but the police are too busy with the great Upset 9-Year-Old Case of 2021 to pay attention.
    The child was clearly amenable to reason; if the cop had stopped patronizing her and said, “I need your help. If your father has been hurt, I need to help him”, she would have led him straight to the injured man.
    The cop isn’t even particularly brutal, but he has been marinated in the culture of Respect Mah Authoritay that he ignores ongoing felonies to restrain a slightly defiant second-grader.

  15. How does a thing like this even happen?

    1. I’d like someone to spray the cop’s kid in the face while he watches. And shoot his dog too.

      1. You are not good at this.

        At all.

        1. That’s funny. I said that to your mom last night.

          1. My mom is deaf.

            1. That explains a lot.

    2. Um… cowardly turds voting for looter parties because social pressure?

  16. “If only both sides realized how close they were to figuring out the bigger picture.”

    Ironic, this statement coming from a TDS-addled Biden voter. How do those mean tweets figure into the “bigger picture?”

  17. The First Responders™ in this string of comments were ALL Republican Trumpistas. Trump, you’ll recall, was the manly Republican who dared to whine “seven shots?” True enough, the little girl could have–in Standard Operating Procedure acceptable to the former Prohibitionist Executive Branch–been shot in the back a mere six times, or her throat knelt on by Unionized First Responders™ for only 8 minutes (or death, whichever came first), either of which would’ve been OK by republican lights. The insouciance of masked sockpuppets is a thing to behold.

    1. You’re a babbling idiot. Do you actually speak like this to real people?

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  20. Yet more evidence that cops are not the answer to all of society’s problems.

    1. Yet more evidence coercive govt. is not the answer to social interaction, e.g., politics.

  21. And they wonder why the sensible and reasonable citizens want to defund the police… F### those cops with Chinese grenades.

  22. Clearly this was treason, she should have been shot to death and her parents tried for raising a terrorist. The entire neighborhood should be sent to a re-education camp for not turning them all in sooner.

    Welcome to Biden’s America…Orwell just shit his pants post mortem, wasn’t pretty.

  23. “A similar dynamic…” Red herring idiocy for starters. Drip, drip, drip down the slippery slope too. Code for ALL UNIONS BAD. Bigger clown “author” than Suderman himself.

  24. Jesus, just toss a box of cookies in the back seat.

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  26. Even a threat from a child about killing herself and her mother should be taken seriously. What was the alternative. Use brute force? What we be said about the police then? What if they let her run away and she killed herself?
    A threat to herself and others. What would the naysayers of the police suggest?

  27. If you can’t handle a nine year old girl without chemical weapons, you’re a goddamned pussy who should never have been allowed to carry a badge and a gun.

    -jcr

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