Grand Rapids Police Department defending officers who handcuffed 12-year-old girl

Mother believes daughter wouldn't have been handcuffed if white

By Jason Colthorp - Anchor/Reporter, Kayla Clarke

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A black mother said her 12-year-old daughter probably wouldn't have been handcuffed by police if she were white.

That mother said her daughter was traumatized and her kids are traumatized by the Oct. 9 incident when police showed up at their home.

Officers responding to a 911 caller’s report of a shooting asked the mother and her children to exit their home while officers searched it for a shooter. Police later determined it was a false report.

The mother said officers pointed guns at her children and briefly handcuffed her daughter on her knees while searching her for weapons. The 12-year-old was released once officers found out her age.

Police were searching for a gunman who had been reported to have shot someone in the neighborhood. The police chief released body camera footage of the incident and is defending his officers.

"Officers did as they were trained to do which puts themselves and the individuals they are dealing with in the best possible (situation)," said Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky.

He said the girl was only in handcuffs for a little more than a minute. They showed compassion, all while responding to a serious 911 call that at the time they didn't know was fake.

READMichigan mother demands justice after 12-year-old daughter handcuffed

The girl's mother said officers pointed guns at her family as they searched their home. It's the fourth time in two years Grand Rapids police officers have put an innocent black child in handcuffs.

Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack has had enough.

"They were walked out backwards with their hands up. It has to stop somewhere. I do look at it as stupidity. It's like, you're dealing with a child," Womack said.

The chief responded directly to those comments.

"I think he does a disservice to both the community and the Police Department. Some of these issues transcend race. This didn't need to be a racialized issue," he said.

Womack announced an "All Kids Matter" march on social media that will take place this Sunday at the Grand Rapids police headquarters.

Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.