Arrest of 9-Year-Old Girl Sparks Push For Policy Change


It’s been over a year, but the outrage is still there.

Last May, Latoya Harris’ 9-year old daughter was arrested after a fight with another 9-year girl at a local Boys and Girls Club.


According to The Oregonian, the incident occurred on April 26th, 2013. Harris’ daughter entered an argument between two other girls, who were fighting because “one told on the other in school earlier in the day for drawing on a desk.” The 9-year old ended up in a fistfight with one of the girls. Staff broke up the fight, the girls apologized to each other, and staff found no serious injuries. Harris’ daughter was suspended from the club for one week.

The story could have ended there but it didn’t. The mother of one of the girls called the police to report the fight. She accused Harris’ daughter of “striking her child in the face and bashing her head against a brick wall, and told police she wanted an arrest made.” After the police arrived to their home and questioned the 9-year old, Harris’ daughter was handcuffed as she stood in her bathing suit. She was taken to the police station where her mugshot and fingerprints were taken.

"When they put handcuffs on, I thought, 'Wait a minute, this has got to be a joke’. The look on my daughter's face went from humiliation and fear, to a look of sheer panic,” Harris told the newspaper.

The girl was accused of fourth degree assault. The district attorney’s office never brought her forth on charges. Latoya Harris filed a formal complaint.

It is the lack of answers she received that has prompted the revival of outrage. Harris reported her story to the Citizen Review Committee, which oversees complaints of Portland police misconduct.

The committee organized a panel of community members and juvenile advocates to help craft recommendations to the Portland Police Department.


As for Harris’ daughter, she’s now 10-years old and is “a different child,” according to her mother. The once advanced student has now transferred to another elementary school and attends counseling.

Read more at The Oregonian