Newly released bodycam footage from the Cincinnati Police Department shows an officer scolding an 11-year-old girl after he stunned her with a Taser during an alleged shoplifting incident last month. “This is why there aren’t any grocery stores in the black community,” he tells her.
The video, which starts after the incident itself, shows officer Kevin Brown escorting the girl to the back of the grocery store for questioning.
“Sweetheart, the last thing I want to do is tase you like that,” he says. “When I say stop, you stop. You know you’re caught. Just stop. That hurt my heart to do that to you.
“Then I gotta listen to all these idiots out here in the parking lot tell me how I was wrong for tasing you. You broke the law. And you fled as I tried to apprehend you.”
“You know what, sweetheart?” he continues. “This is why there aren’t any grocery stores in the black community. Because of all this going on.”
Both Brown and the girl are African-American.
According to a copy of the use-of-force review, Brown was working as a security guard for the store at the time and was not on duty for the Cincinnati Police Department. While the CPD permits officers to use Tasers on suspects as young as 7 years old, apprehending a shoplifter is not an approved use, no matter how old they may be.
“We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said in a statement after the incident. “As a result we will be taking a very thorough review of our policies as it related to using force on juveniles as well as the propriety of the officers [sic] actions.”
That internal review concluded Brown violated multiple policies:
Using a Taser in circumstances other than for self-defense or to control a subject who’s actively resisting arrest.
Failing to warn the girl he would stun her if she kept running.
Failing to turn on his body camera until after using the Taser.
Making a prejudicial comment about grocery stores and the black community.
Brown disputes that his comment about grocery stores was prejudicial, arguing in the review he could support his statement with statistics and therefore wasn’t biased.
That defense didn’t sit well with Iris Roley, an activist and program director for Cincinnati’s Black United Front.
“If this officer thinks little kids stealing food is the reason for not having grocery stores in the black community, he should be out working in the woods,” she told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“That Kroger is surrounded by black communities and black people, and he is there to provide reasonable security, not to be causing this kind of mayhem,” Roley continued. “I don’t believe they should tase a child of any age unless there is a clear danger.”
All of the charges against the girl have been dropped. WCPO reports Brown will face a pre-disciplinary hearing to review the findings.