Chief responds to camera footage showing 11-year-old handcuffed
By Rebecca Russell
Grand Rapids, Michigan (WXMI) -- New body camera footage is painting a more complete picture after an 11-year-old girl was held at gun point and handcuffed by Grand Rapids Police. It's a story that gained national exposure. On Friday, an article was released on the situation by The New York Times.
Last week, Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky along with the city commission called the incident 'extremely disturbing' and 'nauseating', saying changes need to be made within the department.
Body camera video released last week showed 11-year-old Honestie Hodges' blood-curdling screams who was visibly terrified to be placed into handcuffs. Eight minutes of new body camera footage reveals unseen moments following with officers attempting to comfort Hodges and explaining to her mother what was happening. Chief Rahinsky says his officers were following protocol and doing what they were trained to do, but still isn't calling this situation a success.
On Friday, Chief Rahinsky released the video along with clarification on his previous comments regarding the incident.
"The officers did as they were trained to do," said Rahinsky. "Their behavior was consistent with policy. They were responding to a very tense situation, but having said that when we look at the outcome I can't deem it a success."
Rahinsky credited the officers for their response to the situation, but said seeing an 11-year-old in distress made him upset.
"What I see there is a lot of good police work," said Rahinsky. "What I see is a heart for service that goes out every day, but I also see an 11-year-old girl in distress. What I asked myself as chief of the department is how can I confirm the 99.9 percent of good police work I see there, but maybe end up with a result that's slightly different, that doesn't put a young girl through what she went through. That's the challenge."
Rahinsky says the department is looking at different crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques. It's an area where he says the department has room for growth.
"Just like Grand Rapids Police Department is cutting edge in most things, I think this is an opportunity for us to be cutting edge in that respect as well."
Chief Rahinsky tells Fox 17 ideally the department would've completed an internal investigation before speaking publicly on this incident, but it's the climate of our times that allows information to get out so quickly and he wants to keep transparency with the public and the department.
Rahinsky says there's still another 100 minutes of body camera footage to review and their internal investigation should be completed by the end of next week.
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