11-year-old girl who allegedly was shoplifting food gets tased by police officer

A Kroger Co. grocery store in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

An off-duty Cincinnati police officer who was working security at a Kroger store in Spring Grove Village used a Taser on an 11-year-old girl who allegedly was stealing food from the supermarket, according to police.

Police say the off-duty officer was investigating some young girls who were suspected of stealing from the store. When the officer approached the 11-year-old girl, she continued to walk away from him. That’s when he launched his Taser into the girl’s back.

The young girl was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and was later released into a parent’s custody. She was charged with theft and obstructing official business.

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, chairman of the Cincinnati city council’s Law and Public Safety Committee, told USA Today, “It’s hard to understand why an 11-year-old would be tased.” He has called for a full investigation of the incident, saying, “I expect answers in 24 hours.”

Police Chief Eliot Isaac has opened the investigation, officials say. “We are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Isaac said. “As a result, we will be taking a very thorough review of our policies as it relates to using force on juveniles as well as the propriety of the officer’s actions.”

Cincinnati police guidelines allow officers to use a Taser on anyone between the ages of 7 and 70, Lt. Steve Saunders told WHIO. According to the department’s guidelines, “The TASER is an electronic control device that is a non-lethal force alternative used to assist officers in the performance of their duties. The TASER is designed for self-defense or to temporarily immobilize a subject who is actively resisting arrest.”

The guidelines go on: “Officers shall consider the following prior to utilization of the TASER as a force option: 1) The severity of the crime at issue. 2) The level of suspicion with respect to the fleeing suspect. 3) The risk of danger posed to others if the suspect is not promptly apprehended. 4) The potential risk of secondary injury to the suspect due to environmental conditions.”

While the investigation is pending, the officer involved is on restricted duty.

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