UPDATE: An 11-year-old girl who was tasered by an officer as she left a grocery store will not face criminal charges.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley announced on Wednesday that he had discussed the issue of the girl being tasered with the city prosecutor. He asked for the charges against the girl — which included theft of small grocery items, and obstruction of an official business — to be dropped.
“Tasing an 11-year old who posed no danger to the police is wrong,” Cranley said in a statement. “I’m sorry for the harm to her and her family. This evening I called and asked Prosecutor [Joe] Deters to drop charges against the girl. I’m happy to report that he did.”
Deters explained his reasoning for dropping the charges in a separate statement.
“I am not pursuing criminal charges against an 11-year-old who committed a low-level misdemeanor who was tased in the back,” he said. “We are done with it. The city can deal with the officer administratively.”
The girl had admitted to shoplifting soda, chips, and candy in her backpack on a dare. She ignored the officer’s commands to stop at the time, she said, “Because I was scared.”
The girl’s friends “bet me to walk out, so I walked out. The officer told me to stop, but I kept going,” she said.
The girl’s mother is also calling on the city to change its policy regarding who can be tasered by officers in the city. The current procedures for police allow them to do so against kids as young as 7 years old, if necessary.
“[It] shouldn’t be a 7-year-old [who gets] tased, or an 11-year-old. If they’re not adults, they should not be getting tased,” Donna Gowdy, the girl's mother, said.
The girl was wrong to steal items from the grocery store and to ignore the officer’s commands. But her actions did not warrant such excessive force, which, unfortunately, happens far too often in this country, especially to people of color.
The officer in question had other options available to him, before resorting to using his taser on the girl, that could have been implemented.
The city did the right thing here — the girl did not deserve to be struck with a stun gun over a bag of chips, and her charges were rightfully dismissed.
A police officer reportedly used a Taser on an 11-year-old who was allegedly shoplifting from a local Kroger store in Cincinnati, Ohio.
According to Cincinnati Police, the cop was investigating a group of girls who were suspected of stealing goods from the retail store. The girl reportedly ignored the cop who instructed the group to stop; that is when the police officer tasered her in the back.
The girl was then taken into custody and charged with theft and obstruction of an official business. The police then shifted the 11-year-old to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for medical evaluation, who was later handed over to her guardians.
The officer who used a Taser on the girl was placed on restricted duty and an investigation was launched into the incident.
“We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age. As a result we will be taking a very thorough review of our policies as it relates to using force on juveniles as well as the propriety of the officers actions,” said Police Chief Eliot Isaac.
Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman also criticized the police officer.
“There needs to be a complete investigation. It's hard to understand why an 11-year-old would be tasered. I expect answers in 24 hours,” he said.
Police officers have the authority to use a Taser on subjects who are over 7-years-old. However, there are certain guidelines for it. They can be used for self-defense or can be used on a person who is resisting arrest.
A similar unreasonable Taser incident took place in Mississippi last year when a cop allegedly tasered a pregnant woman in the abdomen, ignoring her pleas to stop.
Aviana White, 27, was involved in a heated confrontation with the police after an officer pulled her brother over for speeding and discovered that he was driving without a license. White was a passenger in the car, and the officer found that she had an outstanding warrant from a 2014 misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
She walked away from the car at one point during the ordeal to call the Pass Christian Police Department and complain about how she was being treated, which is when the unnamed cop allegedly charged toward her with a stun gun drawn.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni