While searching for a 40-year-old white woman accused of stabbing someone, a Grand Rapids’ police officer mistook her 11-year-old Black niece as the suspect and scarily arrested her at gunpoint. Body cam footage of the arrest, which resulted in the young girl screaming in fear, has set off an internal investigation within the department.
At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Chief David Rahinsky said the girl’s cries in the video made him “physically nauseous” and that the entire incident is “a discredit to the way the community is being served,” WOOD-TV.
The arrest of 11-year-old Honestie Hodges occurred on Dec. 6 when officers were in search for her aunt Carrie Manning, who allegedly stabbed her younger sister. Once again, Manning is a 40-year-old white woman and police still confused her for a young Black girl.
In the body cam video, Hodges was leaving her house to go to the store when officers confronted her and told her to walk backward with her hands up. While they start handcuffing her, they pat her down and place her into the back of a police car. During the exchange, she begins hysterically screaming.
“The screams of the 11-year-old, they go to your heart,” Rahinsky said about the video. “You hear the mother yelling from the steps, ‘That’s my child!’ That’s our community’s child. That’s someone who lives in Grand Rapids. That’s someone who should feel safe running to an officer.”
Rahinsky said the video shows the department is in need of some reform when it comes to how it treats members of the community.
“The juvenile is treated the same way you would have treated any adult,” Rahinksy told WOOD-TV. “And when you’re dealing with an 11-year-old, it’s inappropriate. So, as an agency, we’re going to have some tough conversations that include the community. It goes to the heart of what we’re trying to accomplish with (consulting firm) 21st Century Policing.”