Settlement reached in Ohio case of stun-gunned black girl
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.
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