Dec 13, 2017, 2:52 PM ET

'Disturbing' video of 11-year-old handcuffed at gunpoint 'makes me physically nauseous,' police chief says


A police department in Michigan has launched an internal investigation into a recent incident in which an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed at gunpoint.

The Grand Rapids Police Department on Tuesday released footage from body cameras worn by officers who were investigating a stabbing in the city on Dec. 6. At one point, the footage shows police pointing guns at an 11-year-old girl before placing her in handcuffs as she screams, "No, please!"

One officer can be heard saying to the girl, "You're fine. You're not going to jail or anything."

Meanwhile, the girl's mother can be heard in the background screaming, "That's my child!"

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky called the video "disturbing."

"Listening to the 11-year-old's response makes my stomach turn. It makes me physically nauseous," Rahinsky said at a press conference Tuesday when the footage was released.

The incident began when officers were searching for a suspect in a domestic-related stabbing in Westside Grand Rapids. The officers determined that the female suspect had fled the residence still armed with the knife, police said.

The investigation led the officers to a second home where it was believed the suspect may be. As officers set up a perimeter around the residence, two women and an 11-year-old girl simultaneously exited the home. The officers detained all three individuals until it was determined that none of them were the suspect nor were armed with a weapon, police said.

The homeowner gave officers consent to search the home and it was deemed none of the three were the suspect for which the officers were searching, nor was the suspect in the residence. The individuals were subsequently released, police said.

The officers then searched another nearby residence where the suspect was ultimately located and arrested. The woman was charged for assault with intent to murder, as well as resisting and obstructing arrest, police said.

The victim of the stabbing was treated for her injuries at a local hospital and has been released, police added.

Following a complaint filed on behalf of the 11-year-old girl, the Grand Rapids Police Department opened an internal investigation. That investigation is ongoing, police said.

Rahinksy said the body camera footage shows how officers inappropriately treated the child like an adult.

"In this situation, I don’t think we acted accordingly," the police chief told reporters Tuesday. "I think we need to take a look at everything we do because if an officer can point to policy or can point to training or point to hiring and say, 'This is what I was told, this is how I was taught, this is consistent with practice,' then we’ve got a problem."

"And what I just said is accurate," he continued. "We do have a problem."

News - 'Disturbing' video of 11-year-old handcuffed at gunpoint 'makes me physically nauseous,' police chief says

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  • Nate Opgenorth

    I want to comment but I can't form an educated opinion based off of essentially sound bites.

  • Yvonne

    My goodness, all of these sad excuses for men on here. If that was YOUR DAUGHTER you'd be livid. But because this is a black child in a bad neighborhood it's acceptable. There's a hell of a lot of people here who need to take a good long look at themselves and figure out what is wrong with your heart and soul before it is too late for you. Because no one lives forever, no one. There will come a time that you pay for the bad things inside yourself. Change before it's too late.

  • Balk daScrew

    Wow lots of trolls on this site. It breaks my heart to hear a child screaming in terror like this little girl. There is absolutely no way that pointing a gun at a child can be excused. Yelling at a child while terrorizing her is absolutely not the proper response. When I was growing up no officers would handcuff a child. This is completely shocking.

  • Ben Vincent

    Sorry but there are definitely some kids these days that need to be treated as adults.

  • Emery Pearson

    All these excuses are simply wrong. Even as a soldier, we managed to treat Iraqi civilians better. Do Americans really deserve less?

  • Frosty Fish Farmer

    How could the police know she was 11 years old? She looks more like an adult than a child.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Over the top, yes. Some downtime without pay and serious retraining needed, yes.

  • Amanda Christiana

    Many 11 year old girls are same size and weight as an adult. Some may not be, but I agree with this officer, he was keeping all involved safe. There is no way to know if one is innocent or unarmed, restraining until it is figured out is reasonable.

  • trusake

    Kid needs to learn how to obey.

  • Dondodondo

    In this case I think the real issue is why were the police searching these people's house? Typically, "probable cause" is not enough to search a house like this. That is the real issue here, what gives the cops the right to roll up to an innocent persons home and demand everyone exit at gunpoint?

  • Lilly

    If the police chief was upset by what he saw, so am I. Guns go off everyday.

  • KJ

    Why did I already know by just reading the headline that the 11 year old girl was black? I must be psychic...

  • Flyboy

    Its becoming almost impossible for law enforcement to "enforce" our laws today...especially in black communities...where, even if the police officer is of the same ethnic group, it becomes increasing complex and difficult (not to mention the risk to law enforcement) to find and arrest purpetrators. These typically black communities have the highest "black on black" crime rates (statistically...Chicago, Detroit, New York, Dallas, etc. etc.)...especially murder, car-jackings, strong arm robberies and drive by shootings. I know they're trying hard to get whites back into the downtown areas of MoTown..with the young whites all "giddy" about renting or buying some crap hole and opening some campy business or venue.. But whites are NOT going to remain in MoTown after sundown without proper personal protection and armament. And, whites won't EVER be back until blacks realize (and do something about it) that a lack of education will doom them, as a class, to this vicious, never-ending cycle of violence.

  • johan de jaager

    I have known people that were cops and have heard stories of kids actually trying to defend someone who was a criminal thats why it didn't surprise me what the cop did.

  • ycplum

    Actually, I am less disturbed by holding them at gunpoint than I am at the attitude of the cop. He can't seem to understand why an 11 year old girl would be upset at having a gun pointed at her and her family and being cuffed.

  • John Murray

    "The officers detained all three individuals until it was determined that none of them were the suspect nor were armed with a weapon."
    EXACTLY as they should have done for their own safety and the safety of others. All they knew is that a female had run from the scene of a domestic violence incident that apparently involved her using a knife. Here you have evidence leading you to this other house where you have some females who may or may not be the person armed with a knife that you are looking for. The office even tells her "You're not going yo jail or anything" and yet she just screams at the top of her lungs for really no reason whatsoever. What bothers me more than all of that however is the police chief who says the video makes him "nauseous". Apparently he has been behind the deck for too long and forgotten what it is like to be out in the field.