The Cincinnati police officer who shot an 11-year-old girl with a stun gun in a Kroger shoplifting incident has successfully appealed his seven-day suspension.
An arbitrator handling the case brought by the Fraternal Order of Police, which represented Officer Kevin Brown, against the City of Cincinnati found that the policy in place during the August incident allowed officers to use a stun gun on children as young as 7. The arbitrator found Brown did not use excessive force.
Brown will be compensated for lost wages during his unpaid suspension, said Police Union President Dan Hils.
Cincinnati police policy was updated earlier this year to direct officers to avoid using a stun gun or other nonlethal force on young children except in “exceptional circumstances.”
The arbitrator, Tobie Braverman, pointed to evidence presented by the union showing several other cases in which stun guns were deployed against children by officers in cases that didn’t result in disciplinary action prior to the policy update.
Among the evidence were instances in which seven teens aged 13 to 17 were stunned. One of them was suspected of shoplifting.
“It is axiomatic that similarly situated employees must be treated similarly,” Braverman wrote.
Braverman wrote Donesha presented no substantial risk of harm to the public or to Brown, but she did pose a risk to herself by fleeing at night.
Had the new policy been in place when Brown stunned Donesha, he “would likely have violated the policy,” Braverman found.
In October, the city announced it settled the threat of a lawsuit from Donesha Gowdy, the child whose 90-pound body was jolted to the ground as Brown stunned her after she fled. Donesha and her family were given $220,000. Kroger gave her an additional $20,000.
Hils, during a press conference Tuesday, said Brown was treated unfairly when he was suspended late last year. Hils also condemned city officials, including Police Chief Eliot Isaac, for opining on the incident before an investigation had taken place.
“People shot off their mouth before they knew the facts,” Hils said. “Even though investigators tried to be fair, it would have been difficult for them to be fair when you have a chief and council members coming down on this case.”
Braverman ruled Brown violated other, less severe violations, including that he failed to turn on his body camera and failed to provide a warning before deploying his stun gun. A corresponding written reprimand, suspension from extra duty, retraining and implementation of an intervention plan were thus sustained.
But another finding, that Brown violated a rule barring prejudice, was overturned. Brown told Donesha: “You know, sweetheart, this is why there’s no grocery stores in the black community.”
Brown contended he intended the comment as an opportunity to mentor Donesha, Braverman wrote.
Read the rest and see the video here: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/06/11/11-year-old-ohio-girl-shot-stun-gun-police-officer-wins-appeal/1423690001/