Police Say Tasering 8-Year-Old Native American Girl Was Justified

Courts, Cover-Up, Crime, Indigenous Peoples, Police Brutality

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The mother of an 8-year-old Native American girl is suing police who maintain that they were justified in using a taser on the child. The family lives in Pierre, South Dakota and belong to the Rosebud Sioux community.

Four police officers decided that this young girl who had a small paring knife was “a danger to herself,” requiring them to taser her.

But her mother says that the officers should have used non-violent means to neutralize the threat they believed the 70-pound girl posed.

It all happened back in October of 2013, but since then family members have obtained attorneys Dana Hanna and Patrick Duffy and their tribe has released public statements against the incident of irrational police brutality.

“Within seconds,” the officer’s electroshock weapon discharged snares into the chest of the 70-pound girl, the lawsuit reads.

“The force of the electricity shot through her body, lifted her, and threw her against a wall. After the officers had stunned (the girl) into high voltage submission, they pulled the fish-hook like Taser darts from her chest, gave her emergency medical attention, bandaged the holes left by the razor-sharp hooks, and called the ambulance.”

Pierre Police Chief Bob Granpre, however, says that the police acted properly, and a two-month long investigate claims the same thing (PDF).

Attorney Dana Hanna recounts the incident, saying that the “four trained police officers surrounding a 70-pound, 8-year-old Indian girl,” should have used tactics that were less violent and not so risky to the young girl’s health and possibly life.

“One distracts her, another grabs the girl’s arm. That’s what they should have done,” Hanna continued.

“She had a kitchen paring knife, but hadn’t cut. She was a kid throwing a tantrum. They should have made an attempt to grab the kid, not use a weapon to throw her into a wall. A Taser’s not meant to kill, but it does kill. Many people have died after being hit by a Taser by cops. It never should be used on a little child. She certainly wasn’t presenting a danger to officers.”

The girl’s father, Bobby Jones added, “I don’t fault for the police being there because they were called. They were there. But what happened while they were there is why I’m upset,” in an early interview he did with local KSFY.

Hanna says that the girl, “L.M.J.”, is currently receiving mental and emotional counseling from a child counselor, as a result of the trauma she experienced at the hands of police. We’ll keep you updated on how the lawsuit proceeds.

(Article by Moreh B.D.K. and David Adawehi)

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29 Comments

  1. it takes more education, training and certification to become a pharmacy technician, a hair dresser or a chef than it does to become a cop, who are supposed to be able to identify a threat to life and limb….she must be one bad-ass little girl. I sooner trust my life to my local pharmacy tech, my hairdresser and the chef at my favorite restaurant. The cops are a bunch of cowards with over inflated ages and without the sense that God gave a flea. I find it hard to accept that they felt that plunging sharp metal barbs into a child’s body and sending large amounts of electricity into her was the only option to diffuse the situation. They did it because they could, and they probably still laugh about how her little body flew into the wall.

  2. All of you negative Nancy’s are just killing me. While I do not generally condone the use of TAZER’s on children, I can see where it may have been necessary in this case. None of us know the circumstances of what exactly was going on in this house. We do not know if the child was backed against a wall or in a corner where the distraction technique, suggested in an earlier post, would have worked. We also do not know where the girl was holding the knife…was it at her throat? If so, shoe could have easily sliced or stabbed her neck herself, or the police could have inadvertently caused the girl to cut or stab herself if they had tried to physically stop her. If they had attempted any of the suggestions you all have come up with and the girl got injured or died, you all would have been calling for the officer’s heads to roll for different reasons than you are right now. I served as a military police officer in the United States Marine Corps and know that cops have to make decisions in split seconds based on the circumstances and facts in front of them. Most of these decisions are the right ones, no matter how we feel about them afterwards. There are bad cops just like there are bad people in EVERY job. However, sometimes there are bad decisions made by good cops too. Most officer involved shootings are justified and all of them should be examined by outside agencies, and so should TAZER usage. It is truly difficult to judge afterwards in the calmness of an office or our living rooms, the actions and decisions of the officers who had to make those decisions in the moment. All of you armchair cops can say what you would have done differently, but you never truly know until you are actually faced with the circumstances as those officers lived them. Even, activists have been changing their minds once they take the time to go through the scenario officer response training exercises. Before you criticize anyone’s actions, try actually facing what they do each and every day.

  3. So, let me get this. The painful and harmful effects of an eight year old, little girl, being tasered is preferable than the danger of the little girl cutting herself, or the 4 big, beefy, manly cops surrounding her??? Maybe, it’s having two many weapons of choice at their disposal: You got a club, use it! You got a gun, use it! You got a taser, use it! You got common sense, and a chance to save–not harm or kill a life–WHAT’S THAT???!!!

  4. I have two children, one who is currently 7 years old and I can’t imagine her little body being tasered. With that said, I also can’t imagine calling the cops on her when she is ‘throwing a tantrum’. If the parents felt the need to call the cops on their 8 year old then apparently they didn’t feel they could control her and someone was in danger, be it herself or others.

    • 1: where does it say the parents called the police?
      2: If they did…perhaps they did it to scare her into behaving
      3: Any decent cop would have played along with the parents and given her a good talking to about her behavior NOT fricken tried to kill her!!!

  5. If cops are going to use tasers there should be a law against using them on children.

    • What you are saying makes sense, but the way cops are trained to think, chances are that if they hadn’t used a taser they would had shot her dead and claim they feared for their lives. After all, she was armed with a DEADLY WEAPON – just in case you missed it, I was being sarcastic.

  6. I’m in shock that these cops would to do that to a 70 pound girl. I had no idea that tasering meant shooting darts like that into the chest. WTF. As for calling he cops, I wasn’t there so I don’t know why they felt they should. I do know that way too many cops are too militarized and lack the skills/training that includes service to the community. Yes there are many crime situations where police force is necessary, but something is truly lacking when they treat everyone like their enemy.

  7. And just what would these cops do to a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum ? beat it to death with their billyclubs out of fear of being bitten ?
    Time to fire some cops.

  8. Of course they tazed her, 8 yr. old girls are dangerous as fuck. I’m surprised they didn’t shoot her.

    Never trust police.

  9. There’s no way I’d ever call police because my 3rd grader was having a fit and carrying a little paring knife.The officers used unnecessary force with the taser; one could have distracted her while another disarmed her. Sometimes a group of 3 to 6 cops can be unbelievably stupid in how they handle a young kid.

  10. I would lose my mind if cops tazered my little child … All my trust in the decency of the humanity around me would be shattered. I would no longer feel safe sending my child out into the world for fear of the stupidity and violence of adults meant to protect and serve our children into competent adulthood. Thanks again cops for egregiously escalating a mildly bad situation into a horror for everyone around you. The school authorities are also at fault for having absolutely NO humanitarian skills with the little children in their charge.

  11. No excuses! That’s what my generation believed. We enable cops and other spam artists by giving credence to stupid excuses and actions. This is just evil.

  12. It takes very little effort to learn the facts of the case before spewing your uninformed opinions of the parents. The child was home in the care of a babysitter. The parents were not there. She was expressing a wish to be dead. She didn’t threaten anyone but herself. Given there were four cops and one child with a paring knife aimed at herself, I’d say the cops way over-reacted.

  13. Four TRAINED police officers couldn’t take a paring knife away from an 8 year old, so they decided to use a taser on her? I hope none of those officers have children, I can imagine what would happen when one their kids doesn’t clean his/her room. This is disgusting and breaks my heart that four grown men, couldn’t take that knife away from her without using violence.

  14. Read the pdf for more information. It was the babysitter who called the police because the little girl was threatening to kill herself with the knife. If I were babysitting, I’d have done the same thing.

  15. This is fucked up. Maybe someone should electracute the scum bag pig. Hookup Some jumper cables from the car battery to him & watch him light up like a christmas tree. Now that would be JUSTIFIED!

  16. It is not stated in the article but the girls mother (the PDF transcript of the investigatoin lists that she lives with her mother and sister) was not home, and that the children were in the care of a babysitter. Another factor to consider before downing the parents is that emergency services (being a suicide call I would think that the protocol would be to send EMTs as well as police) are trained to deal with suicidal people in ways that are less likely to result in injury. The distract and tackle technique would require two people (preferably trained people) and is a huge risk because of the knife that even a 70lb girl could mistakenly stab someone with. It seems that the best option would have been to talk to her and treat it as most suicide attempts are….a hostage situation in which the person is holding themselves hostage, a violent takedown by any means whether tackling or tasering should always be a last resort in suicide calls, especially in calls involving minors, and even more especially in those cases when the minor is not even in the double digits.

  17. He contradicts himself. First he says the bad cops are 1-2%. Then he says after he snitched that NO COPS would back him up or tell him to report in a position that would allow him to help. What this means is thta the cops that would not help or assist him were working in support of the cops that beat the handcuffed suspect. He basically proved that NONE of the baltimore cops that were working with him truely supported him… But they did support the street justice cops that broke the suspects ankle. AFAIC he basically said ALL Baltimore cops are bad

  18. I completely agree the cops took this way too far and should have worked this situation in a different way. Why were the cops called in to begin with. Why didn’t her parents take care of this? This is their child. She is their responsibility.
    This story does not give all the details as to why they were called in. It is slanted against the cops. It gives no information as to why they were called in in the first place. It gives no information as to why the parents didn’t just handle this themselves. It gives no information as to why the child had the paring knife. Was she trying to harm herself? Wash she trying to harm someone else? We don’t know all of the info, we need to step back and look at this with all emotions aside.

    • Actually in the artcicle is a highlighted link that takes you to the officers report.

      If you read it the cops say that the girl was living in a trailer park and that 9-11 was called by the girl babysitting her. She was saying the girl had a steak knife she thought in the kitchen and was going at herself trying to cut her leg and holding to her throat.

      Then the freaking out babysitter said she had two knives.

      She addmitted that there was ni blood because the little girl had not actually cut anything.

      The cops got lost then arrived at first told there was a female with a steak knife trying to comit suicide. One of the cops trains cops in taser use. The cops were admittedly at the trailer inside under two minutes.

      In that 1-2 min time they claim to ask her to drop the knife and she shook head NO and jabbed in the air towards the cop…and he was about ten feet from her and scared she was going to hurt him. She looked to a hallway and made a dart to get away and it appears they may have shot her in the side or back?

      They say she slid down the wall to the floor…and leave out hiw it threw her against the wall. The wording is careful to make it appear they were so kind and gentle…attending to her wounds. And they said pepper spray a gun a baton and laser…of these the best choise is laser. But he did manually turn it off not let her be fried for five minutes.

      I would like to know how they spoke to her…the tone…what words. Under two minutes? Okay fear of what if she runs away from us down the hall to stab someone in the hall…this is not a hardened criminal mind its a scared kid. And she never stabbed anybody she was full of it…and why? Why did she threaten herself and the babysitter? Did the babysitter threaten her?

  19. This is what our taxes provide?! Weak police officers that protect their own lives ( all three of them ) rather than an eight year old child’s life, at their very own hands?! Without even so much as a slap on the hand?! Were they even suspended?! This is an outrage, regardless of the child’s actions, the officers should have been protecting the child, whether or not the child was a threat to them, yet instead they choose to harm her?! I just hope she’s OK. I don’t believe that the police academy is doing the appropriate testing; determine if the individual is racist, determine if the individual has reasoning skills, determine how well individual can interact with children etc. If these questions aren’t answered for the good of all, then I’m sure there are others willing to fit those shoes!

  20. Firstly if disarming her was such an EASY maneuver WHY couldn’t her PARENTS resolve the situation??? Secondly this child was HIGHLY AGITATED [psychotic] and very seriously disturbed to present in this manner. In this state they can be just as dangerous and aggressive as any adult. [In this case probably moreso to herself] No officer could predict her actions to maim herself if she felt threatened if they advanced toward her. Bad situation….absolutely & unfortunate, BUT this child issues needed addressed LONG before this situation occurred!!! SEEKING counseling due to the incident….SHE needed help long before that!!!!

  21. I just have one statement to make to the officers who in my eyes are guilty of child abuse… If you officers can’t take control of a little 8 year old without the use of a taser, then you need to turn in your Badges and give up law enforcement completely……I am so disgusted it turns my stomach….. That poor little girl will be scared for life, and you think it is all in a days work….how would you feel it this happened to one of your children,I can bet there would be charges if it was one of yours….. NOT RIGHT WHAT YOU DID!!!! AND YOU KNOW IT!!!!

  22. Wow Justified are you all retarded. She was having a moment n instead of dealing with it, it took 4 dumbasses to Taser a lil girl. Now thats simple pathetic. Damn becareful Natives these fools went to this extreme for a lil girl imagine a Native Adult your a gonner. LOSERS

  23. So… why couldn’t the girl’s parents “distract her while the other grabs her arm”? Cops should have never even been called!

  24. WOW, these taser’s can be worse than guns. Yes guns can make a rather large hole in a kid, but all that 50k wattage going throw such a young fragile kid can actually cook her like a microwave from the inside out. I am handicapped and I can can still unarm a 7 year old in a rampage. This is strait up sissy ass sadistic BS. A 7 year old kid will always be a 7 year old, and that means dealing with their intolerable selfish rampaging behavior because thats a part of human development. I am still wondering why the cops were called anyway? This is something a frail teacher can handle. Come on now, did this country go from strong , no BS, heroes to sissy call the cops losers?

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