Don’t be surprised if a Cincinnati police officer is not punished for firing a Taser at a child— because his department’s policy permits cops to taser kids.
Local lawmakers demanded answers from the Cincinnati Police Department about why an officer tasered an 11-year-old girl at a Kroger supermarket on Monday (Aug. 6) for allegedly shoplifting, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“We’re still waiting on bits and pieces of information, but I could see no reason … why an 11-year-old child was tasered, given the circumstances, for shoplifting,” Cincinnati City Councilmember Jeff Pastor told WLWT-TV.
Astonishingly, the department’s policy permits officers to use stun guns on individuals aged 7 to 70, according to the Enquirer. After reviewing Taser policies of several police departments around the country, Cincinnati’s rules appear unusual.
An off-duty officer working security at the supermarket fired his Taser at the girl while investigating several girls accused of stealing from the store, the police reported. The cop fired at the child’s back after she continued to walk away, ignoring his orders. She was arrested and charged with theft and obstructing official business.
Under the department’s policy, officers are permitted to use their stun guns “for self-defense or to temporarily immobilize a subject who is actively resisting arrest.” In addition to the age restrictions, Taser use is also banned on “obviously pregnant females.” All restrictions disappear if the officer is in a “deadly force situation.”
Tasering the girl in the back would get the officer in trouble if he was working for the Chicago Police Department, which discouraged officers from shocking people who are fleeing or vulnerable to injury, according to a policy change announced in 2017.
But in Cincinnati, things are obviously different, as Police Chief Eliot Isaac continues to deliberate over the matter.
In the meantime, the girl, whose identity was not released, was evaluated at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and released to her parents. She’s awaiting a courtroom appearance.