Ohio police chief 'extremely concerned' by officer's use of Taser on 11-year-old girl

Posted at 7:12 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 11:28:02-04

CINCINNATI -- A police officer working an off-duty detail at a grocery store used a Taser on an 11-year-old girl Monday evening, prompting Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac to promise “a very thorough review” of his actions as well as the department’s use-of-force policies as they pertain to juvenile suspects.

“We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Isaac said in a news release.

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman also says the policy needs to change.

The officer had been called to investigate reports of several young girls stealing items from the Kennard Avenue Kroger when he spotted the 11-year-old walking away with a backpack full of items, according to the release and Lt. Steve Saunders.

She refused to stop after the officer warned her, and then he stunned her with the Taser. The girl, a fifth grader at Winton Hills Academy, is 4-foot-11 and 90 pounds, according to a police report.

Medics at the scene checked on her, as did staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Saunders said. She appeared healthy. Police charged her with theft and obstruction before releasing her to her parents. 

A Taser can be used on anyone between the ages of 7 to 70, according to Cincinnati Police Department procedure. Smitherman said Wednesday he'd introduce a motion to change the lower age limit to 12, rather than 7.

PD procedures on use of force state, "The TASER may be deployed on a suspect actively resisting arrest when there is probable cause to arrest the suspect, or to defend one’s self or another from active aggression."

The procedure also notes that officers should consider the severity of the crime, the level of suspicion with respect to the fleeing suspect, the risk of danger to others and the potential risk of secondary injury to the suspect due to their surroundings before using a Taser.

"An individual simply fleeing from an officer, absent additional justification, does not warrant the use of the TASER," CPD procedure states.

A Kroger spokesperson said the company is "cooperating with the police who are investigating the matter."