GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – The Grand Rapids Police Department is investigating a case involving an 11-year-old girl being held at gunpoint and handcuffed. The incident was captured on bodycam and has led the police department to launch an internal investigation.
Chief David Rahinsky held a press conference Tuesday to address the incident which happened on Dec. 6, which he readily admits wasn’t handled properly.
“It’s multifaceted challenge and we don’t claim to have the answers as of yet, if we did we wouldn’t be where we are now — but having said that — I do feel we have the people in place to address this issue. We are having these tough conversations – we’re being very introspective and we’re asking the community to help us get better,” said Rahinsky.
Chief Rahinsky says officers were responding to an attempted homicide, with concerns that the suspect might use a child to hide the weapon.
“It’s not unusual for suspects to ask someone in a home to hold the weapon for them, including juveniles, the thinking being that a juvenile is less likely to be searched. So, I recognize why the response is what it is but I also see and feel there’s a disconnect between us recognizing a unique situation and individuals of ages that need to be treated differently,” said Rahinsky.
Honestie Hodges told WOOD-TV that she was leaving her home by the back door when police approached and told her to walk backwards with her hands up, put her in handcuffs and put her in a squad car.
“It made me feel scared and it made me feel like I did something wrong,” 11-year-old Honestie told WOOD-TV on Monday.
When Honestie was asked what she would like to tell Grand Rapids police — she simply replied with a question, “I’m just wondering why they did that to me?”
Apparently Grand Rapids police were looking for Honestie’s aunt, Carrie Manning, a 40-year-old white woman, in connection with a stabbing. Honestie, a fifth-grader, is black.
The department posted a statement explaining the actions of the officers on Facebook:
“Once on scene, officers determined that the suspect fled the residence still armed with the knife, Their investigation led to a second Westside Grand Rapids home where it was believed the suspect may have fled to. As officers were setting up a perimeter, three females simultaneously exited the home, two adults and one 11-year-old juvenile. Until it could be determined that the individuals were not the suspect, nor armed with a weapon, the three were ordered back to officers and detained. The homeowner gave consent to search the home, and it was deemed that none of the three individuals that exited the home were the suspect officers were searching for nor was the suspect in the home. The females were subsequently released.”
During Tuesday’s press conference the chief stated the child “was treated the same way we would have treated any adult and when you are dealing with an 11-year-old – it’s inappropriate. So, as an agency, we’ve got to have some tough conversations.”
The screams of the 11-year-old go to your heart said Chief Rahinsky.
The chief met hoped to meet with the family of the girl.