Police in Michigan have been criticised after handcuffing an 11-year-old girl and holding her at gunpoint before putting her into the back of an officer’s vehicle.
The girl said she had been left shaken and upset by what happened and no longer felt comfortable standing near her house’s rear door, where police had entered.
“It made me feel scared and it made me feel like I did something wrong,” Honestie Hodges told local media. “I’m afraid to open or go near my back door because of what happened. They had police cars over on this street, they had police cars all along the ally.”
The incident happened in the city of Grand Rapids as the girl was preparing to leave her home to go to the shops. Police said they were looking for her 40-year-old aunt, who had been accused of stabbing another relative nearby.
“The whole time they are telling her to come down, I’m telling them, ‘She’s 11 years old. That’s my daughter. Don’t cuff her’,” the girl’s mother, Whitney Hodges, told NBC.
Grand Rapids police said they detained the girl and two other women, including the girl’s mother, as they left the exited the house,
Police issued a statement Monday saying they handcuffed the women and the girl because officers had not determined if they were suspects. Police said the women were not armed.
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The department has launched an internal investigation into what happened.
“The 11-year-old was handcuffed for a total of two minutes while she was brought back into the alley and patted down to make sure that she did not have anything dangerous on her,” said Grand Rapids Police Department spokeswoman Cathy Williams.
“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.”
An internal investigation was launched the day after the incident following a complaint from the girl’s family.