An 11-year-old girl shocked by a police Taser at a Cincinnati Kroger store this week won’t face charges. The officer who deployed the dangerous weapon is facing plenty of scrutiny, however.
The incident unfolded Monday as off-duty officer Kevin Brown investigated a group of girls suspected of shoplifting from the store, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Police said Brown approached one of the girls, but she ignored his commands to stop and continued walking out of the store.
That’s when the officer deployed his stun, hitting the child in the back.
Police initially charged the girl with theft and obstructing official business, both of which were dismissed thanks to Mayor John Cranley.
“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,” he added. “This evening I called and asked Prosecutor [Joe] Deters to drop charges against the girl. I am happy to report that he did and I thank for him doing so.”
Amid the outrage, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac promised a “very thorough review” of the officer’s actions, as well as the department’s use-of-force policies regarding juvenile suspects, local station WCPO 9 reported. Isaac added it makes him “extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age.”
According to Cincinnati police procedure, a Taser can be used on anyone between the ages of 7 and 70. The child’s mother, Donna Gowdy, says it’s time for that policy to change, however, and believes police could’ve handled the situation much differently.
“If you can’t run, then you need to get off the police force,” she told the station. “… If you can’t handle an 11-year-old child, then you really need to get off the police force. You here to protect these kids.”
Gowdy acknowledged that her daughter, who was with her 9-year-old sister and a friend at a time, was stealing snacks from the store. After Monday’s incident, the child was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she was checked out, cleared and eventually released back to her mother.
Gowdy said there’s still a mark on her daughter’s back from where the Taser struck, adding that she’s still in pain.
“I don’t want it to happen to nobody else’s kids, because it could’ve been worse,” she said. “It could’ve been a gun.”
Watch more in the video below.