GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Police in Michigan are investigating a recent incident in which officers pointed their guns at an 11-year-old girl and handcuffed her.
Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said at a news conference Tuesday that police body-camera footage shows that the 11-year-old was treated the same way as an adult.
"When you are dealing with an 11-year-old, it's inappropriate,” Rahinsky said. “So as an agency, we got to have some tough conversations."
The incident occurred on Dec. 6 as officers were searching for a suspect in a stabbing, which led them to a house on the west side of Grand Rapids.
As they set up a perimeter around that house, two women and the 11-year-old girl walked out of the house. Police initially pointed their guns at all three individuals, then they were all handcuffed, searched and released a short time later.
At the press conference, police released about 40 seconds of body-cam footage of the incident.
It shows the 11-year-old girl screaming "No, please," as officers place handcuffs on her. One officer can be heard saying, "You're fine. You're not going to jail or anything."
The girl's mother can be heard screaming, "That's my child."
"Listening to the 11-year-old's response makes my stomach turn," Rahinsky said at the news conference. "It makes me physically nauseous."
Rahinsky said the 11-year-old should not have been treated like an adult by officers.
"In this situation, I don't think we acted accordingly," said Rahinsky. "I think that discretion did not rule the day, and it's a discredit to the way the community is being served."
Police also issued a statement Monday saying they had detained the women and the girl because officers hadn’t determined if they were suspects. Police said the women weren’t armed.
“The 11-year-old was handcuffed for a total of 2 minutes while she was brought back into the alley and patted down to make sure that she did not have anything dangerous on her,” police spokeswoman Cathy Williams said.
The girl was then placed in the police cruiser for about 10 minutes. She was later allowed to stand in the alley with her other siblings, Williams said.
Officers got permission to search the house and didn’t locate the suspect. The women and girl were then released, police said.
Grand Rapids police have opened an internal investigation.
Contributing: The Associated Press