The Michigan police officers who handcuffed and pulled a gun on an 11-year-old girl earlier this month won’t face disciplinary action. Instead, the department has set forth new rules for dealing with children called the “Honestie policy.”
Named after victim Honestie Hodges, the new policy mandates that all Grand Rapids Police Department Officers get to know the youngsters on their beats, according to NBC News. In a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page on Wednesday, Dec. 20, the agency said beginning right away, local patrol officers would have more interaction with kids in the community on a rotating schedule and work with several outreach programs.
It added that an internal investigation into the Dec. 6 incident with Hodges determined that the officers involved that night had not violated departmental policy.
“No discipline will be issued,” city Police Chief David Rahinsky said in a statement. ” This, however, in no way diminishes our commitment to identifying what can be done to prevent similar incidents in the future. Concrete steps are [now] being taken to ensure equitable outcomes in our interactions with the community.”
In addition to the outreach programs, lieutenants will be assigned to each patrol units and undergo unique training in “cultural competency and de-escalation techniques.” Meanwhile, all Grand Rapids department officers will receive “additional dynamic-scenario training that includes children.”
The new “Honestie” policy stems from an incident less than two weeks ago when Hodges was met by police with their guns drawn as she left her house using the back door to go to the store, NBC News reported. The young girl said officers instructed her to walk backward while holding her hands above her head. After cuffing her, she said they frisked her then pushed her into the back of the patrol car.
“When my mom was walking past, I was putting my hands through the little bars, banging on the windows screaming, ‘Please don’t let them take me!’ ” Hodges told local station WOOD. “It made me feel scared and it made me feel like I did something wrong.”
Despite the girl’s mother, Whitney Hodges, telling police her child was just 11-years-old, officers admitted to cuffing her anyway. Two women who had exited the house with her were also briefly detained, authorities said.
It turns out police were actually looking for Hodge’s aunt, Carrie Manning, who was wanted for allegedly stabbing her sister at a home a few blocks away. Manning, who is a 40-year-old white woman, was believed to be armed with a knife at the time, according to the news station.
The child’s aunt was later found at another home and arrested on charges of assault with intent to murder and resisting and obstructing arrest, along with an outstanding warrant. The victim she’s accused of stabbing was treated at a local area hospital.
It’s still unclear how the officers wound up detaining a Black child at gunpoint when they were pursuing a white female adult. When asked if she had any words for police, young Hodges said, “I’m just wondering why they did that to me.”