The police chief in Grand Rapids, Mich., who criticized his own officers this month for handcuffing an innocent 11-year-old girl, said this week that none of them would be disciplined for the episode.
The chief, David M. Rahinsky, publicly reprimanded the officers last week and called their actions on Dec. 6 a mistake when they pulled out their guns and placed the girl, Honestie Hodges, in handcuffs. They came upon the girl during a search for a 40-year-old woman who was a suspect in a stabbing.
Instead of letting the girl go, the police ordered Honestie to walk toward them with her hands up, as her mother yelled that she was only a child. Honestie begged them not to handcuff her. Chief Rahinsky was blunt in his criticism last week.
“We do have a problem,” he said.
But despite the scolding, the police chief said in a statement on Wednesday night that an internal investigation had found that since the officers did not violate department policy, they would not be punished. But he said that the Police Department would introduce new training and policies, including one that would be named for Honestie and address how officers should handle children.
“No discipline will be issued,” Chief Rahinsky said in the statement, which was posted on the department’s Facebook page. “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.”
When the police swarmed Honestie’s home, a police officer with a body camera captured the encounter. The footage, which the department released last week, shows Honestie walking on a pathway outside the back door.
“No! No! No!” Honestie screamed, as an officer locked handcuffs around her wrists.
She was handcuffed for about two minutes, the police said, and was placed without handcuffs in a police car for about 10 minutes before she was let go.
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