Press Releases

CAIR-NY Condemns Rochester Police Officers for Use of Pepper Spray, Handcuffs on 9-Year-Old Girl; Calls on NYS Attorney General to Investigate

(NEW YORK, N.Y. 2/1/2021) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the Rochester Police Officers for handcuffing and using pepper spray on a 9-year-old girl on Wednesday, Jan. 27.  

CAIR-NY is also calling on the NYS attorney general to investigate for excessive use of force. 

Rochester Police were reportedly attempting to get a nine-year-old girl into a police car after responding to a family disturbance at her residence. Released body camera footage from the officers shows the girl crying and repeatedly screaming “I want my dad.” Although already handcuffed, one of the officers uses pepper spray on the child as he pulls her into the vehicle.  

SEE: Rochester Police officers handcuff and pepper-spray a 9-year-old girl after call of ‘family trouble’

In a statement, CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said: 

“This is a nine-year-old emotionally distraught girl facing multiple grown men in uniform and with weapons. The fear in her shrieking voice is obvious as she pleads for her father’s protection. If the officers needed to place the child into the vehicle, then they should have taken care to avoid further trauma.  

“Rather than effectively calming the child, the police inflicted further trauma on her. All the while, other officers watched. This scenario is exactly why community advocates like CAIR-NY call on re-allocating police funds to trained social service providers. Police officers are not trained and should not be called upon to remove vulnerable children from their home.  

“The New York state attorney general should investigate this matter for potential excessive force, and the mayor of Rochester should mandate changes to ensure children are never again subdued by handcuffs and pepper spray.”      

CAIR-NY has continuously supported reforms for law enforcement: 

SEE: CAIR-NY Denounces Use of Unmarked Van in NYPD Arrest, Sounds Alarm on Rising Militarization of Police

Breaking: CAIR-NY Welcomes the New York State Legislature Repealing 50-a, Calls on Governor to Sign the Repeal into Law

CAIR-NY Condemns DHS Surveillance of Peaceful Protesters, Calls on Federal and State Authorities to Investigate

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. 


CONTACT: Ahmed Mohamed, CAIR-NY Litigation Director,; 646-481-2103; Afaf Nasher, CAIR-NY Executive Director, 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter