Cincinnati, OH — A disturbing story out of Cincinnati is making headlines this week after a police officer tasered an 11-year-old girl after he suspected her of stealing food. The officer who tasered the girl has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
"Tasing someone...a child, for shoplifting? That's ridiculous," one witness told WLWT. "There is no reason for that."
According to police, an off-duty officer working as a security officer at the Spring Grove Village Kroger confronted the girl after he suspected her of stealing food. When the officer attempted to stop the little girl, according to police, she did not listen to him.
The girl kept walking in an apparent attempt to get away from the officer who then pulled out his taser and shot her in the back.
While being tasered, the girl was injured and was taken to a nearby children's hospital where she was treated and released to her parents. According to police, the girl is charged with theft for stealing the food and obstruction of justice.
The officer involved was equipped with a body camera, however, according to police, he failed to turn it on during the incident. It was only turned on after the girl was tased.
Police also said they did not know if there was surveillance footage from the Kroger. However, they likely have it by now.
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Although the officer was placed on administrative leave, police say the officer acted within the guidelines of their use of force regarding children.
As WLWT reported, Lt. Steve Saunders with CPD said their guidelines allow them to use a Taser on anyone 7 and older.
The department's policy adds, "Officers should avoid using the Taser on obviously pregnant females and those individuals under the age of 7 or over the age of 70 due to the potential for these individuals to fall when incapacitated by a taser, unless the encounter rises to the level of a deadly force situation."
Yes, you read that correctly. Police in Cincinnati can taser children as young as 7-year-old. They can apparently do so over the alleged theft of food as well.
"I would like to confer with the police officers to see why that policy is in place," Coucilman Jeff Pastor said. "I'm not in the business of criticizing the policy, however a 7-year-old kid, being eligible for use of force by Taser, it probably shocks me, probably shocks most Cincinnatians."
"We're still waiting on bits and pieces of information but I can see no reason, I have a 12-year-old daughter, but I can see no reason why an 11-year-old child would be tasered given the circumstances for shoplifting," Pastor said.
"We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age," Isaac said in a statement. "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."
To be clear, stealing food is certainly wrong. However, it is one of those things that is easily forgiven as this girl was likely hungry. The cop could've used his discretion and allowed the girl to return the food. Or, he could've done like this cop in Myrtle Beach, SC, who was called to Hardees to arrest a homeless man in June. Instead of arresting him, however, he bought him dinner.