07:47 GMT +320 March 2019
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    Black Girl Tasered by Police for Stealing Candy, Mayor Apologizes

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    A US city mayor has made a public apology to one family after an officer tasered a black girl suspected of shoplifting.

    Cincinnati mayor John Cranley issued a public statement, asking police officers to drop charges against 11-year old Donesha Gowdy.

    "Tasing an 11-year old who posed no danger to the police is wrong," he expressed in his letter.

    Officer Kevin Brown, 55, was an off-duty security guard at a Kroger supermarket when he caught Donesha stealing food. He then chose to taser the girl after she ignored the officer and started to walk away from the scene, according to NBC affiliate WLWT.

    "It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn't really breathe," she said in an NBC interview while sitting next to her mother. "It's just like you're passing out but you're shaking."

    The officers then charged her with theft and obstructing official business. At the time, Gowdy complied with officers and was not acting aggressively towards them, she stated.

    Gowdy was taken to a nearby children's hospital due to breathing problems, and was later released to one of her parents, according to the police statement. Donesha's mother has expressed shock at the incident, but did not condone her daughter's actions.

    Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman has opened a formal investigation into the matter.

    "I'm not saying what she did was cool, I'm not saying that, but what he did was totally wrong," Donna Gowdy, the child's mother, told NBC. "Whoever thought of these rules needs to step back and think. I'm not just worried about my own [child]. I'm not trying to see any kid get done like that."

    "I told my daughter: 'I hope you learn from this. You risked your life over some candy,' her mother said.

    The Cincinnati Police "Use of Force" guidebook regulates what constitutes as excessive use of force and gives a thorough protocol for confronting suspects.

    "Officers should avoid using the TASER on [individuals] under the age of 7 or over the age of 70 due to the potential for these individuals to fall when incapacitated by the TASER, unless the encounter rises to the level of a deadly force situation," it cautions.

    It also notes that "an individual simply fleeing from an officer, absent additional justification, does not warrant the use of the TASER."

    "We are saddened by this situation," a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement. "Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and associates. Our thoughts are with the family and child."

    This is not the first time that Ohio has been in the headlines for police brutality against children. Police officers shot and killed 12-year old Tamir Rice just seconds after arriving on the scene in 2014.

    Rice was reportedly brandishing an "obviously fake" toy gun in a neighborhood park on November 22, according to police audio, when officers shot him twice from a distance of no more than 10 feet away.

    Rice's family opened a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland and Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the officers involved in the fatal shooting.

    The lawsuit argued that there was "ample opportunity to safely provide clear, unhurried commands to the startled young boy but instead [the officers] rapidly confronted him with their cruiser and their guns and shot him all within two seconds.


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