An off-duty Cincinnati Police officer yesterday used a Taser on an 11-year-old accused of stealing food from a local grocery store, Cincinnati Police officials acknowledged last night.
The incident happened after several juvenile females were reported allegedly stealing from Kroger on Kennard Avenue near Clifton. An officer working as security for the store approached the group and told them to halt. One continued to walk away from the officer, allegedly with a backpack full of food, at which point the officer deployed his Taser, according to a statement from CPD.
"We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age," said police chief Eliot Isaac in a statement last night. "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."
According to a police report from the incident, the juvenile is 4-feet-11-inches tall and weighs about 90 pounds. Her mother, Donna Gowdy, has called for changes to official CPD policy allowing Taser use on children as young as 7 and adults as old as 70. Some members of Cincinnati City Council agree. Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman has said he will push to change the minimum age to 12 years old.
CPD procedures also state that the electric shock device is not to be used on suspects who are simply fleeing an officer.
The officer involved has been placed on "restricted duty" until an investigation into his actions is complete. Police officials say he attempted to turn on his body camera before the incident, but was unsuccessful. Body camera footage from the aftermath of the incident was filmed, however. It is unclear if Kroger security cameras captured the incident.
The juvenile involved in the incident was taken into custody on theft and obstruction of official business charges. She was examined at Children's Hospital Medical Center and then released into the care of her family. She will appear in juvenile court at a date yet to be determined.