Beyond Words …

The Headline:

Ohio cop faces pre-disciplinary hearing after tasering 11-year-old girl at grocery store

The Story from ThinkProgress:

A Cincinnati police officer who used a Taser on an 11-year-old Black girl at a grocery store last month was placed on restricted duty and will face a pre-disciplinary hearing.

Although the Cincinnati Police Department says officers are allowed to use a Taser on children over the age of 7 and adults under the age of 70, an internal review found that Officer Kevin Brown violated the department’s use of force policy in using the Taser. The department is currently considering revisions to the policy, with Chief Elliott Isaac telling local media this week that “A lot of places have moved to, instead of specifying age specifically, that they talk about small children. Considering the stature and size of the individual you’re using force against.”

The officer was doing off-duty security work at a Kroger’s grocery store when he spotted the girl, Donesha Gowdy, attempting to leave with her friends. The officer said that he asked her to stop and she ignored him. Gowdy told NBC News that she was not “aggressive” to the officer and did not try to fight him. Again, she is 11 years old.

Gowdy said she stole items from the grocery store, including soda, chips, candy, and baby clothes, according to NBC News New York. She was charged with theft and obstructing official business, but the charges were eventually dropped.

By Brown’s own admission, the girl did not pose a threat to the officer, who violated department policy by failing to warn Gowdy before using the Taser. His body camera was turned off as he Tased her, which also violated department policy, and he turned it back on afterward.

“It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn’t really breathe,” Gowdy told NBC News.

After the incident, Brown told Gowdy, “You know what, sweetheart, this is why there’s no grocery stores in the black community, because of all this going on.”

As NBC News New York reported, Brown defended his statement to investigators and defended his behavior during the incident, telling Gowdy, “When I say stop, you stop. You know [you’re] caught, just stop. That hurt my heart to do that to you. Then I got to listen to all these idiots out here in the parking lot telling me how I was wrong for tasing you.”

Incidents of officers using force and handcuffs on Black children occur all too often.  Last month, an 11 year-old Black boy was handcuffed by a Florida police officer for continuing to bounce a basketball after he was asked to stop. Last year, an 11-year-old Black girl was held at gunpoint, handcuffed, and put in the backseat of a squad car by officers from the Grand Rapids Police Department during an incident in which police were looking for her relative. In 2016, a mother sued the Chicago Board of Education and a security guard because a guard handcuffed her 6 year-old Black daughter at school.

In one particularly tragic incident, a Black teenager, Damon Grimes, died after he crashed an ATV last year. According to ABC News, a combination of dashcam, bodycam, and surveillance video showed that, before the crash, an officer Tased the teenager. Grimes’ family’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, said that the officers involved in the incident “killed [Grimes] when they shot him with a Taser and electrocuted him and he ran into another vehicle and broke his neck.”

Research shows that people, including cops, often see Black kids as less innocent than white children. As a result Black boys as young as 10 are more likely to face police violence, according to 2014 American Psychological Association study. A 2017 report from Georgetown University found that Black girls were considered less innocent than white girls. One of the report’s authors, Rebecca Epstein, told The Washington Post that adults see Black girls as “less in need of protection as white girls of the same age.”

There have been cases in which police have Tased and used other kinds of force against the elderly, as well as children, such as the case in Georgia last month when police Tasered an 87-year-old woman. Police were called to the scene by a Boys & Girls Club employee who found the woman cutting dandelions with a knife at the club. Officers did not attempt to take the knife from her, but instead, immediately resorted to Tasing her after she did not respond to their requests to drop the knife. The woman was later found to have dementia and only speaks Arabic. As The Root reported, the police failed to call emergency medical personnel or tell her family that she had been Tased.

This article speaks for itself.  I am beyond words.sad


30 thoughts on “Beyond Words …

  1. Anxiety levels must be pretty high. Normally you’d reckon the sight of someone in a police uniform would be enough. You would expect the officer’s mind set to be:
    ‘I’m a police officer. I am in uniform and carrying all this equipment, all I have to do is raise my voice and so in most cases sounding just authoritative and that should hack it. I’ll know which ones are going to escalate the situation’
    Society is getting stretched again.
    Must be real hell for the ordinary ‘joe/Josephine’ officers who just want to do their job with as little hassle as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, part of it, I believe, is that in the environment of the day, black children learn at a very early age to be afraid of the police. When I was a kid, I was always told “the policeman is your friend, and if you’re ever in trouble, he will be the one to help you.” And I think it was mostly true back in those days, although surely for some being a cop has always been a power trip. But, I can tell you from the experiences of my black friends that mistrust of the cops by blacks IS justified. And so, from a very young age, the children learn to fear the police, so if one gives the order to “stop!!!” in a harsh tone, and you remember your daddy being pulled over on the road not long ago and the cop sticking a gun under his ribs right in front of your eyes … what are you gonna do? Trust is a funny thing. It takes a long time to earn it, and only a very short time to lose it. And yes, you’re right … the real danger is that a few bad cops are giving the word “police” a very ugly connotation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeh. And being a cop is a society where folks can own a dozen or so firearms with no background checks…..
        And I’m guessing the police authorities can’t afford to be that picky in recruiting, so there is a higher proportion of yahoos than they would prefer.
        You also highlighted a very salient point, respect and trust is hard to earn but can so easily evaporate.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s not just in the States. I was in an incident last yesr where a Mountie was itching to dreaw his gun on me cus I questioned his authority. If he has a Taser he probably would have used it, but as it was he kept putting his hand on his holstered gun. He wanted so badly to show me how tough he was against 3 senior citizens, two of them women. I’m surprised police and army organizations don’t weed out bullies. They ghink being in uniform gives them the right to be pr÷cks, and they take it seriously if you redist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True … some of them like the “power” it gives them. But I think the worst part is the bullies give all police a bad name, and ultimately we come to trust none of them. You’re right … they seriously need to weed out those who abuse their authority or power.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, I can hear a newer version of Sheriff Andy telling Barney that he must keep the power supply to the taser in his buttoned shirt pocket. If Barney tased an 11 year old or an 87 year old, he would be in the cell with Otis. I gest because these stories are utterly ridiculous. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did have to chuckle at your image of the ‘upgraded’ Andy Griffith with the taser power supply replacing the lone bullet he was allowed! Times have changed just a bit, haven’t they? And yes, they are ridiculous. This made me so furious. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, of course, and it is only a matter of time before some cop is offended by a black kid who didn’t hear him or was afraid, and instead of tasing him, he pulls out his gun and fires real bullets. Only a matter of time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we have already seen it, and society was upset but the officers wee not punished. I can not help but think of Tamir Rice, who was shot as the officers drew close to him and they simply shot with in 2 seconds. They drove up, and shot him. No attempt to figure anything out. He was 12. As for police in schools, there has already been video evidence of them assaulting kids. One officer got angry and body slammed a girl after picking her out of her seat. Anther video showed an officer randomly punching kids and picking on them. He had gotten away with it for years against the complaints of the kids, until he was filmed by a cell phone doing it. He was allowed to retire. Some people can not handle being in a positions of authority. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

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