The Grand Rapids, Mich., police officers who handcuffed a terrified 11-year-old girl at gunpoint in a case of what they described as “mistaken identity” will not face disciplinary action, the department says.
Bodycam footage showed the officers accosting Honestie Hodges on Dec. 6 while they were conducting a search for her aunt Carrie Manning—who is 40 years old and white. An internal investigation into the incident was launched, and according to the Washington Post, the results are that the officers involved will not be disciplined.
Black community leaders in Grand Rapids are outraged at the outcome of the investigation.
The Rev. Jerry Bishop of LifeQuest Ministries told Grand Rapids news station WOOD-TV, “We are dismayed that there would even be the possibility of no disciplinary action on behalf of an officer, especially since the process of investigation and discipline is totally controlled by the Grand Rapids Police Department.”
In a Facebook statement, Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said: “No discipline will be issued. This, however, in no way diminishes our commitment to identifying what can be done to prevent similar incidents in the future. Concrete steps are being taken to ensure equitable outcomes in our interactions with the community.”
In a 45-second video released by police last week, Honestie is shown approaching police officers—one of whom is pointing a gun at her—with her arms raised in the air.
As the officer tells her to put her hands on her head and turn around and walk backward toward him, her mother yells for them to stop and informs them that Honestie is an 11-year-old child.
Honestie told Grand Rapids Fox affiliate WXMI-TV after the incident: “I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve never got in trouble by the Grand Rapids Police. I used to want to be a Grand Rapids police officer, but ever since that happened, I want nothing to do with them.”
When Rahinsky announced the internal investigation last week, he said that the video made him sick.
“You listen to the 11-year-old’s response, it makes my stomach turn,” he said. “It makes me physically nauseous.”
He also said that he thought the officers behaved incorrectly and should have “asked the 11-year-old to back to you, take her behind the car and have a very different conversation with her.”
“Are there incidents where you deal with young people who present a danger to either other people or themselves? Yes,” he told reporters. “But I don’t believe this is one of them.”
Apparently the Grand Rapids Police Department Internal Affairs Unit thought differently.
Read more at the Washington Post.