A Cincinnati police officer is under investigation after using a Taser on an 11-year-old girl he allegedly caught shoplifting from a local Kroger market, reports Newsweek.
The officer was working off-duty detail outside of the Kennard Avenue store when he reportedly saw a group of young female adolescents shoplifting from the store. He shot one of them in the back with the Taser after she allegedly refused to turn around when he demanded several times that she stop walking away.
The young girl was treated on the scene and immediately taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. After the hospital evaluated her, she was released and arrested on suspicion of theft and obstructing official business before finally being let go into her parents’ custody.
However, the chief of police, Eliot K. Isaac, has expressed his concerns over the judgment of the officer using excessive force to stop the child.
“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 officer’s actions,” cites Newsweek.
Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee, also voiced his concerns about the incident while addressing fellow council members, according to Newsweek.
“It’s hard to understand why an 11-year-old would be Tased. I expect answers in 24 hours.”
Cincinnati Police Department procedures dictate that the use of a Taser gun should be avoided on children under the age of seven, pregnant women, and elderly individuals over the age of 70. Officers must also thoroughly assess the need for this type of force based on the severity of the crime in question, the potential risk to an individual or the environment and other persons around them if they are not apprehended immediately, and how actively they are attempting to escape the scene.
“An individual simply fleeing from an officer, absent additional justification, does not warrant the use of the Taser,” the procedure dictates.
The officer, who has yet to be identified, has since been placed on restrictive duty during the duration of the investigation and Kroger has told local media outlets that they are cooperating fully.
The 11-year-old girl will face her charges at Hamilton County Juvenile Court at a date still to be determined.