A police search for a 40-year-old attempted murder suspect ended with an officer pointing a gun at and handcuffing an 11-year-old girl in Michigan last week, sparking condemnation from the police chief and mayor.
Grand Rapids police officers were searching for Carrie Manning, who was suspected of stabbing her sister.
11-year-old Honestie Hodges, a niece of the suspect, walked out of the door of her aunt’s house with another aunt and her mother.
Officers had each of the women and the girl approach separately for detaining and questioning.
When Honestie was asked to approach, an officer had a gun pointed at her. As she came forward, the officer had her put her hands on her head, then turn around and walk backward toward him.
When she reached one of the officers, he ordered her to put her hands behind her back as he pulled out his handcuffs, and the girl began to scream.
The officer spoke to Honestie in a calm and reassuring voice during the encounter, but she became upset by what she likely perceived as her being arrested.
“You’re not going to jail or anything,” the officer said as the girl screamed.
‘It makes my stomach turn’
Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky condemned the officer’s actions, saying the video of the encounter made him sick.
“You listen to the 11-year-old’s response, it makes my stomach turn,” Rahinsky said. “It makes me physically nauseous.”
Rahinsky acknowledged that sometimes suspects try to conceal weapons by giving them to children, but also said he didn’t believe this was a situation where the child posed any danger.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss said that “no child in our community should experience that.”
“You should feel safe running to an officer,” Rahinsky said.
The child’s perspective
Honestie told Fox WXMI in Grand Rapids that she was confused by the situation.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve never got in trouble by the Grand Rapids police.
“I used to want to be a Grand Rapids police officer, but ever since that happened, I want nothing to do with them. Chief or not, I really don’t feel comfortable around any cops.”