The Rochester Police Department in New York released graphic body camera footage of officers tackling and pepper-spraying a Black mother who was accused of shoplifting while with her 3-year-old daughter.

The department released the footage last week of the incident that occurred on Feb. 22. The woman can be seen in the video showing officers the inside of her bag on a sidewalk and denying that she stole from a nearby Rite Aid.  

An officer can be heard in the video asking her what she "stole from that store" and saying, "I don't have time for BS. You better be quick with me."


She can be seen in the footage running away from officers before they caught up to her, tackled her and pepper-sprayed her after she set down the child. 

The woman’s daughter can be heard screaming in the video. She was not pepper-sprayed or injured in the incident, police confirmed during a Friday press conference. 

The store claimed that the woman refused to leave after they requested that she go “several times,” Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan, interim department chief, said during the Friday news conference. Herriott-Sullivan also claimed that the woman knocked items off of store shelves.

The officer involved in the arrest has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a police investigation into the incident, the interim chief confirmed Friday.

A police officer is also seen in body camera footage confronting a bystander who was filming the incident on his cell phone.

The woman was charged with trespassing over the incident. 

Herriott-Sullivan on Friday told reporters that police believe department policy was followed in the officer’s use of pepper spray, but she added, “I’m of the mode, just because we can do certain things, should we?” 

“Can we get to the same place by utilizing a different strategy, maybe?” Herriott-Sullivan said, calling for officers to “best come to a resolution of certain situations with the least amount of confrontation involved.” 

The Police Accountability Board in Rochester addressed the incident in a Friday statement, WHEC in Rochester reported. The board said it is “disturbed” by the footage and compared it to an incident earlier this year in which officers pepper-sprayed a 9-year-old girl and handcuffed her.

“Both incidents involved Black mothers. Both involved Black children. Both involved Black people obviously in crisis. Both involved officers using pepper spray on or around a Black child,” the statement read, adding that two officers "involved here were also involved in the earlier pepper spraying incident" targeting the 9-year-old girl. 

The Rochester Police Department has also faced widespread outrage over the death of Daniel Prude. Prude died last March, one week after he was detained after running naked in the New York city. His family later released video showing officers pinning him down and placing a “spit hood” over his head before his death.

A medical examiner ruled that his death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”