GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says watching the body cam video should help a mother understand why officers pointed guns at her 11-year-old twin sons.
“Those officers acted on the information they had in a manner to keep themselves and the young men safe,” explains Chief Rahinsky.
But Juanita Ligon says watching her children in the body cam video does not make her feel better. “I’m even more hurt,” she says. “I have to watch what my children went through.”
The Grand Rapids Police Department has released body camera video recorded Aug. 26 when officers responded to a report some boys were seen walking with a handgun. The police chief says officers acted properly when they drew their weapons, cuffed and searched three boys who seemed to match the description.
“When someone calls 911 and says they see young men with a handgun, we are going,” said Chief Rahinsky.
But no gun was found and Ligon says the officers who detained her children should be suspended from duty.
“From the video, my children did not seem to pose any type of threat,” she said.
“These individuals were in the area and they fit the description,” says Chief Rahinsky. “This was the most appropriate response.”
Chief Rahinsky says the officers quickly deescalated the confrontation. After making sure the boys were not armed, they holstered their weapons, removed the handcuffs and explained the situation. The Chief says the response reflects the departments new Youth Interaction Policy.
“They spoke to them in a tone appropriate to their age, explained what transpired and why,” he says. “I think they showed great compassion and humanity.”
“These officers need to be taken off the street,” says Ligon. “When is it going to stop? When they hurt someone?”
Ligon has filed a complaint with the police department. The chief says an internal affairs investigation is underway.
“I think everyone can understand why the officers did what they did,” he says. “And I think everyone can also sympathize with the young men and the mother.”
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