The 11-year-old who was tased in the back by a Cincinnati police officer will no longer face charges after Mayor John Cranley announced on Wednesday that the charges of theft and obstructing official business were dropped at his request.
“Tasing an 11-year old who posed no danger to the police is wrong. I’m sorry for the harm to her and her family,” the mayor said in a statement late Wednesday, according to Fox19. “This evening I called and asked Prosecutor [Joe] Deters to drop charges against the girl. I’m happy to report that he did.”
“I am not pursuing criminal charges against an 11-year-year-old who committed a low-level misdemeanor who was Tased in the back. We are done with it. The city can deal with the officer administratively,” Prosecutor Deters confirmed to the news station.
The police department is still investigating the use of force that enraged the community and even lawmakers.
The 11-year-old encountered the off-duty officer, who was working security in a Kroger on Monday evening. The little girl admitted that she put soda, chips and candy in her backpack and walked out of the grocery store. She said she was with other kids who dared her to steal.
“They bet me to walk out, so I walked out. The officer told me to stop, but I kept going,” the child told WLWT.
When asked why she ignored the officer, the child said, “Because I was scared.”
That was when the officer fired the Taser into her back.
“It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn’t really breathe,” the girl told NBC News in an interview alongside her mother. “It’s just like you’re passing out but you’re shaking.”
The officer, who was identified by NBC via court documents as 55-year-old Kevin Brown, claimed that he tried to activate his body camera, but was
conveniently unable to do so right away. The only footage provided occurred after the incident, according to police.
Cincinnati police policy allows children as young as 7 to be Tased. Donna Gowdy, the child’s mother, is now demanding that the age be raised.
“Shouldn’t be a 7-year-old tased or an 11-year-old. If they’re not adults, they should not be getting tased,” Gowdy told WLWT.
Cincinnati Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman agrees with Gowdy and is working on legislation to change the age to 12 years old.
“I’ve introduced legislation previously on raising the tasing age from 7 to 12 and I’m hoping council will revisit this now raising the age for tasing,” Smitherman said.
Gowdy acknowledges that her daughter was wrong to take the items, but still sees the treatment she received as way too harsh.
“She took some things which she shouldn’t have done, but at the same time, she didn’t have to get treated the way she did for taking those things, she’s only 11 years old,” Gowdy told Fox19. “I don’t believe she gave him any force for him to do that because that’s what Tasers are for. They’re for when he’s getting attacked or when somebody’s got something that’s going to harm him. I don’t believe my 11-year-old harmed him in no fact or any shape or form.”
“I’m not saying what she did was cool, I’m not saying that, but what he did was totally wrong,” Gowdy added to NBC News. "Whoever thought of these rules needs to step back and think. I’m not just worried about my own [child]. I’m not trying to see any kid get done like that.”