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To: Rochester City Council members, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester Police Accountability Board

Cops pepper spray 9-year-old. Police union leadership: “It worked.”

Mike Mazzeo, head of Rochester’s police union, is claiming that it’s appropriate for officers to manhandle, handcuff and pepper spray a 9 year old girl—who wasn’t suspected of any crime— while attacking those demanding accountability. Not only is what we’ve seen a clear use of excessive force, it appears that the girl’s 4th amendment rights were violated, which seems to be of no concern to Mazzeo. This comes on the heels of Mazzeo defending the officers that mocked, suffocated, and killed Daniel Prude. This is clearly unacceptable. It is impossible for people in Rochester to trust their police force with Mazzeo leading the police union. Mazzeo has to go—we call on you to use your power to force his removal as president of the Rochester Locust Club.

Why is this important?

We’ve come to expect police union leadership to defend cops’ violence and abuse—but now Mike Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Locust Club, is saying it’s appropriate for a 9 year old—who wasn’t even a suspect—to be manhandled, handcuffed, and ultimately pepper-sprayed by police officers.

It’s beyond excessive use of force, and it appears that the child’s 4th amendment rights were violated. But Mazzeo thinks the cops’ actions were appropriate:

• “Those officers in those scenes, they broke no policy. There’s nothing that anyone can say they did that’s inappropriate.”

• “I don’t know who could do any better job.”

• “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.”

No community, especially its Black and brown folks, should be expected to trust or respect a police department with someone like Mazzeo in a position of leadership.

Mike Mazzeo is the same police union leader who defended the officers who mocked, suffocated, and killed Daniel Prude. Mazzeo is also suing the state of New York to stop it from releasing the disciplinary records of Rochester police officers. Mazzeo’s defense of these officers—and his defense of the officers who killed Daniel Prude—are textbook examples of the playbook police unions use to shield violent and dangerous cops who are caught abusing their power and breaking the law:

• When police are caught doing something that is clearly wrong, say they were following protocol and blame their training.

• Deceive and lie to obscure and confuse the truth about what happened.

• Attack city officials, activists, and others in a position to hold police accountable.

It’s not just outrageous for Mazzeo to justify these officers’ violent actions towards a 9 year old girl—it’s a big part of what helps violent and biased police continue to get away with abuse. If Mazzeo can say these things and remain the leader of the police union, it virtually guarantees that Rochester police will continue to be unaccountable and violent. His behavior and way of thinking encourages police brutality, and it makes accountability for police and necessary reform impossible.

Mike Mazzeo has to go. Please join us in calling on Rochester’s Mayor, Chief of Police, City Council members, and Police Accountability Board to force Mazzeo’s departure, now.



2021-05-25 15:21:33 -0400

20,000 signatures reached

2021-02-07 16:51:06 -0500

10,000 signatures reached

2021-02-07 14:47:18 -0500

5,000 signatures reached

2021-02-07 14:10:43 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2021-02-05 19:35:11 -0500

500 signatures reached

2021-02-05 16:14:03 -0500

100 signatures reached

2021-02-05 16:10:02 -0500

50 signatures reached

2021-02-05 16:08:17 -0500

25 signatures reached

2021-02-04 20:21:05 -0500

10 signatures reached