GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Grand Rapids Police used excessive force when an officer handcuffed an 11-year-old girl at gunpoint, said NAACP leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Police were searching the northwest side of Grand Rapids for 40-year-old attempted murder suspect, Carrie Manning, on Dec. 6. That's when an officer pointed a gun at 11-year-old Honestie Hodges and handcuffed her. Hodges is the suspect's niece, who was on the way to the store with her mother.
Partial body camera footage released by Grand Rapids Police show Honestie screaming while the officer cuffs her. Her mother, Whitney Hodges, yells "She's 11 years old."
"Still, watching the video, I get angry," Whitney Hodges said. "I cry...[she's] never been in trouble. She's a really good girl."
No one can look at Honestie and say she deserved what she got, said Greater Grand Rapids NAACP President Cle Jackson at the news conference in front of city hall.
"[This is] an 11-year-old baby of color," Jackson said. "And they were looking for a 40-year-old European white woman. The community is asking: make that make sense for us."
The NAACP is working with the Hodges family to file a complain with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The Grand Rapids Police department needs to change its procedures, Jackson said.
"We recommend that you ask for the immediate development and implementation of policies and procedures focused on officer discretion when detaining and/or arresting juveniles," he said.
Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky told WZZM 13 he is working with both the NAACP and the Hodges family and wants to continue a dialogue. He said last week officers followed protocol, but what happened to Honestie made him nauseated.
"That's not a result that we want to replicate," Rahinsky said. "We can take the 99.9 percent of the things that were done right, and we can take a look at what we want to change."
Grand Rapids Police is conducting an internal investigation. NAACP leaders made multiple demands to GRPD, including a release of all body camera footage of the incident and "culturally competent" counseling for the family.
"[When I see a police officer] I think that I need to go somewhere away from police officers because I don't feel safe around them," Honestie said.
The policies and procedures of the Grand Rapids Police Department target communities and youth of color, Jackson said.
"This is unacceptable," he said. "This has to be unacceptable for us as a community."
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