Honestie Hodges, a fifth grader, was handcuffed by police officers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as they searched for her aunt in a stabbing investigation. Disturbing body cam footage shows Hodges following police directives, then panicking as she is placed in handcuffs. She is 11. These images have led to an internal investigation at the Grand Rapids Police Department, which has decided that the case points to a need for internal changes.
The New York Times reports that on Thursday Police Chief David M. Rahinsky admitted the officers involved in the altercation made a mistake:
“Listening to the 11-year-old’s response makes my stomach turn,” the chief, David M. Rahinsky, said at a news conference. “It makes me physically nauseous.”
This is the second time this year that Grand Rapids police officers have been caught using intimidation tactics towards children. In March, Officer Caleb Johnson stopped five black youth between the ages of 12 and 14 on their way home from playing basketball. The Washington Post reports that Johnson had received a call about a fight at the local recreation center in which one of the suspects had a gun.
Johnson got out of the car with his gun drawn and forced the teens to get on the ground. Eight officers responded to the scene, and the body cam footage shows the boys wailing on the ground, and the distress of community members trying to reason with the police:
The internal investigation has lead Rahinsky to the conclusion that the entire department has an issue.
“We need to look at everything, from our hiring to our training to our supervision,” he said. “We do have a problem.”