The mayor in the US city of Cincinnati, Ohio, has issued a public apology after a police officer tased an 11-year-old African American girl who was suspected of stealing food from a supermarket.
"Tasing an 11-year old who posed no danger to the police is wrong," Mayor John Cranley wrote in a statement on Wednesday, noting that he had asked the prosecutors to drop all charges against the teenager, identified as Donesha Gowdy.
Donesha was tased by officer Kevin Brown, 55, who was working as a security guard at the supermarket on Monday evening, when the incident happened. Police had charged the girl with theft and obstructing official business.
According to police, Brown decided to use his stun gun on Donesha after she allegedly ignored an officer and started to walk away.
The impact was so hard on the teenager that she had to be taken to a children’s hospital after experiencing breathing problems.
"It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn't really breathe," the girl, Donesha Gowdy, told NBC News. "It's just like you're passing out but you're shaking."
The fourth-grade student said she in no way tried to fight the officer or act aggressively toward him.
Brown is likely to get away with what he did because, according to Cincinnati police department procedure, officers are allowed to use tasers on children over 7 or on adults under 70.
Donesha’s mother said while she did not condone what her daughter did, the incident showed that the city needed to review laws on using force against criminals.
"I'm not saying what she did was cool, I'm not saying that, but what he did was totally wrong," the girl's mom, Donna Gowdy, told NBC News."Whoever thought of these rules needs to step back and think. I'm not just worried about my own [child]. I'm not trying to see any kid get done like that."
Joseph Blaettler, a retired New Jersey deputy police chief, told NBC News that Brown’s actions were “unreasonable.”
“Use of force comes down to what’s reasonable and what’s not reasonable. So it comes down to what the officer was facing," said Blaettler, who has more than 30 years of experience on the job. "Generally speaking, tasing an 11-year-old, in my opinion, would be unreasonable.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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