CINCINNATI (AP) — There’s a $240,000 settlement in the case of an 11-year-old black girl stunned by a Cincinnati police officer after she was spotted shoplifting in a grocery store and tried to run away.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tuesday the city of Cincinnati will pay $220,000 and the Kroger Co. $20,000 to Donesha Gowdy. Use of the money will be monitored by probate court, and the city has also agreed to participate in a juvenile police problem-solving team.
Officer Kevin Brown, who also is black, was heard on body camera footage telling her: “Sweetheart, this is why there’s no grocery stores in the black community.” The jolt from the stun gun knocked the 90-pound girl onto the concrete parking lot and left her convulsing.
Internal investigation found Brown violated four policies, including making a prejudiced comment and misuse of his stun gun in an incident that wasn’t serious enough to justify it. Police policy allows use of a stun gun on a suspect of her age, but police investigators said officers should use the least amount of force necessary when dealing with juveniles.
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Veteran civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein helped negotiate the settlement.
Police Chief Eliot Isaac said in a statement Tuesday that he has approved discipline for Brown. The discipline includes oral and written reprimands, use-of-force training, a seven-day suspension from duty and a two-month suspension from working outside police-related details.
Brown was working for Kroger to monitor for shoplifting. Police said the girl tried to take clothing, food and drinks worth $53.81. Prosecutors declined to press a case.
Her mother, Donna Gowdy, said Donesha wrote a letter of apology to Kroger and promised not to steal from the grocer again. She also warned her daughter: “These policemen aren’t playing … it could have been a gun instead of a Taser.”
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com