CINCINNATI — The city of Cincinnati and Kroger agreed to pay $240,000 to the family of Donesha Gowdy, an 11-year-old girl who was stunned with a Taser while shoplifting, according to a news release from family attorney Al Gerhardstein.
Cincinnati Police Department chief Eliot Isaac announced Tuesday the off-duty officer who stunned her had been reassigned to a position with the Telephone Crime Reporting Unit and would soon face additional discipline, including a seven-day suspension and use-of-force training.
“We take these matters very seriously and are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Isaac said in a news release.
Gowdy had been shoplifting from the Kennard Avenue Kroger on Aug. 6 when Officer Kevin Brown, who was on security duty, ordered her to stop. She didn’t. The officer fired his Taser as she walked away. One probe struck her at the base of her spine; the other hit between her shoulder blades.
The incident prompted an apology from Mayor John Cranley and a promise from Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman to review the Cincinnati Police Department’s protocol on Tasers. At the time of the incident, the policy permitted officers to use a Taser on any person between the ages of 7 and 70.
“I think that we have work to do to make sure that our use of force on children is racially fair and balanced in terms of the harm that we can really expect from them,” Gerhardstein said.
Isaac promised “a very thorough review” of Brown’s actions as well as the department’s use-of-force policies as they pertain to juvenile suspects. As of Tuesday, he had also authorized three reprimands, a forthcoming seven-day suspension of duty and additional use-of-force training to discipline Brown, who would be placed on an intervention plan with a supervisor.
“We take these matters very seriously and are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Isaac said in a written statement. “As I committed earlier, the department took a very thorough review of this incident and our department standards.”
Donesha wrote this apology to Kroger:
“I Donesha Gowdy is writing this letter to apologize to the Kroger company … to say I’m sorry for stealing from the store in will not do it again.”