Rochester, Bass Drop County, Senator discussed on Here & Now

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From NPR and WB war. I'm Peter O'Dowd. And I'm Cal in borders. This is here and now to state lawmakers in New York, one of band police officers from using chemical agents on Children anyone under 18. Their effort follows an episode in which Rochester police handcuffed and pepper sprayed a nine year old girl as seen on body Cam footage released this week. The officers involved have been suspended and now New York State Senator Samra Brooke wants to take legislative action. She represents the state's 50 50 Senate district and his chair of the chambers. Mental Health Committee, Senator Brooke Welcome. Thank you for having me. It's good to be here. I have to ask What was your reaction when you saw that footage of a nine year old girl being pepper sprayed, you know, my reaction was similar to. I think a lot of our reactions especially for folks here in Rochester, New York, you know, this isn't the first time we've seen something like this. And it was horrific and it was traumatizing to see a small child treated with such violence on by having a pepper spray in her face and more than anything, I think It just added to the need and the urge that we all have to to try to do something about it. But what you're hearing from your constituents, my constituents. We actually have heard from a lot of them. They are reaching out. And there's sick of it. Frankly, they don't want to see their city and their community and national headlines for something like this. It's not a proud moment for them, nor for me and you know, they look to their leaders to say. Well, what can we do? You know, we've been down this road. How is this still happening? To your point about having been down this road before you know. The city of Rochester created a person in crisis team after the death of Daniel proved he was a mentally ill black man who died a week after being in police custody last March. This team is a group of mental health professionals who are supposed to be dispatched to mental health crises related tonight when one calls but they weren't dispatched in this case, So why not? And how did the system failed? This young girl? You know, I'm glad you brought up the person in crisis team and you know, it's very new. Still, it got up and running very, very quickly. I definitely think we need to continue putting resource is into that group of mental health professionals to help folks who are in crisis, but because of a number of circumstances, they were not deployed in this instance. But really, what this comes down to is that under no circumstances should a child be pepper sprayed under no circumstances Should a child be violently pushed into a police car, Having not committed any crime on so we really want to focus on regardless of Who is showing up Can we at least make sure that we aren't attacking our kids with something like a chemical irritant? And so this is the thrust of a bill that you've proposed. You would like to bar police officers from using chemical agents like pepper spray and tear gas on Children under the age of 18. Does that go far enough in your view, senator or is that just kind of a starting point? I think it's certainly a step on the road. To where we make larger reforms. You know, we always look at you know the bigger picture of where we want to move. But also, you know, how do I make sure this doesn't happen tomorrow? And of course, you know, let's remember. According to the reports, the police officers were acting by their protocol, so their policy is that you can pepper spray a nine year old. And that to me is bad policy. Well, do you expect push back then? Or do you think the bill will pass? I mean, is there some counter that you're going to get that says police do need the option of using chemical agents on minors. I I look forward to having those conversations. This was a very quick moving response. It's developing quickly here on the ground in Rochester. So so I will continue to work with both my colleagues in the Senate. My colleague, Assembly member Meeks in the Assembly and, of course, our our local folks here on the ground in Rochester to make sure that we move forward in a way that's going to be the most protective For kids in the future. So that's the big picture policy debate that may shape what happens in future police interactions. But in this particular case, Senator the officers Involved have been suspended with pay as an investigation is underway. In this case, What would you like to see happen next? I would like to see a full investigation and I would like all of us to take that moment to reflect, you know, take policy out of it. Take titles out of it were all human beings At the end of the day? We're all sons and daughters. Some of us are parents ourselves. And let's just think about the fact that a nine year old girl has been traumatized because the adults in her life spread chemical irritants in her face when she was having a crisis, And I think that if we all take a moment as humans reflect on that, it's a very easy answer. That this is never the answer for a nine year old girl to have to suffer. Yeah, it's New York State Senator Sombra Brooke. Senator. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much. In Texas. Some counties are just beginning to roll out their covert 19 vaccination plans that includes rural places like Bass Drop County east of Austin, Ashley Lopez from member station, Kut reports. Best. Rock County is one of the smaller counties, the state has designated a vaccine hub. That means county officials and others have to figure out how to hold mass vaccination events with few resource is so nonprofits like Bass Drop County cares are pitching in. The group's executive director, Debbie Percent says they're in the early stages of figuring out how to get vaccines administered on a wide scale. We're creating this as we go. With no real model. Most vaccination hubs in the state are in big cities like Austin and San Antonio. Places with way more resource is and doctor does more walks past Rob counties, Local health authority says they've already got a lot on their plate. The problem of addressing how to get vaccines into arms is something that came upon us in the middle of a huge public health crisis. Walk, says she's up to the task of mapping out all the barriers they face in bass drop one of those has to do with how people will sign up to get a vaccine first fall. A lot of people out here don't have good Internet connectivity. That's Edie Clark, a leader with Bass drop interfaith, she says before the pandemic was even an issue groups and bass drop had been working on improving access to the Internet. For thousands of families. It limits access to health care in general, you know, just doing a telemedicine visit. That means some folks are going to have to rely on getting things set up over the phone. We have 95 year old people calling us That Don't you know, don't use text very much, And when you call them back, they think it's a scam because you're getting scammed all the time Percent. With bass Drop County, Kerry says it will take a lot of hours to work out details for appointments and scheduling follow ups for the second dose because many people needed kind of not hand holding, But it's it's all this is complicated, and we're building it from scratch. And then there's convincing younger working people to make time to get vaccinated for, said says. There are a lot of people and bass drop, for example, who commute into Austin toe work. They work long, hard hours, maybe two in three different jobs, and so even finding time to get a vaccine and to wait in line means they are losing money. Their hourly workers often Hourly workers in Texas are often most at risk of getting Cove it and are more likely not to have sick pay or health insurance. And Edie Clark with bass drop, Interfaith says some of these families have no idea what's going on, Lou. What I'm hearing from some of the Residents you know, in in study point are that they're not really aware at all of how to get the vaccine. What they need to do, or You know the website or the phone number Any of that is a two..

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