The officer spotted the girl along with a group of other girls who he, according to the city’s police report, suspected were stealing items from the store. As she walked away he commanded her to stop, she didn’t, then he unholstered his taser and stunned her from behind.
“We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Cincinnati Chief of Police Elliot Isaac said in a public statement Tuesday.
The New York Times reports that Cincinnati’s police procedural manual states that in severe situations tasers can be used on anyone between the ages of seven and 70 actively resisting arrest. Before using a taser, the manual instructs officers to consider the severity of the crime in question as well the threat posed to others if a suspect is not apprehended.
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“An individual simply fleeing from an officer, absent additional justification, does not warrant the use of the TASER,” the manual says.
Calling for a response from the department, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said in a statement on Tuesday, “It’s hard to understand why an 11-year old would be tased; I expect answers in 24 hours.”
Echoing Smitherman, Councilman Jeff Pastor said to the Times, “As a father, I could never imagine a scenario where it is acceptable to tase an 11-year-old child,” he said. “Ever. Ever.”
The name of the 11-year old girl is still unknown.