Once again, Grand Rapids police point guns at a Black child

GRPD Officer points gun at Honostie Hodges, 12 (Image Source: GRPD)

Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan have a serious problem when it comes to dealing with Black children. Last Wednesday, a report of domestic violence and the stabbing of a woman by her sister Carrie Manning, 40, sent police to a neighborhood in search of the White female suspect.

Manning had fled her home after she stabbed her sister and was thought to be at a nearby residence with other family members. Police went to the second house and saw Honestie Hodges, 12, leaving her residence on the way to the store and totally unaware that police were looking for her White aunt. The officers had their weapons drawn and pointed at the frightened child and ordered her to turn around and walk slowly towards them. Honostie begins crying in fear for her mother, as she is handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. The police then go on to arrest two other women at the residence, neither of them fitting the description of the White female suspect. But according to the cops on the scene, they could not determine if Honostie was a suspect in the stabbing.

An internal affairs investigation was launched over the officers’ treatment of the child and how the entire situation was handled. At a press conference held on Tuesday, Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky was apologetic over the officers’ actions as he showed disturbing bodycam footage of Honostie screaming for her mother. Rahinsky stated, “The screams of the 11-year-old, they go to your heart. You hear the mother yelling from the steps, ‘That’s my child!’ That’s our community’s child. That’s someone who lives in Grand Rapids. That’s someone who should feel safe running to an officer … The juvenile is treated the same way you would have treated any adult … and when you’re dealing with an 11-year-old, it’s inappropriate. So, as an agency, we’re going to have some tough conversations that include the community. It goes to the heart of what we’re trying to accomplish with [consulting firm] 21st Century Policing.”

Seems like we have heard this before from Chief Rahinsky earlier this year. Back in April, a Grand Rapids police officer drew his gun on a group of Black boys walking down the street with a basketball. The boys had just left a Salvation Army youth center and were ordered to the ground by Ofc. Caleb Johnson, who kept his gun on the scared children until more officers arrived on the scene. The kids were totally innocent and did not match the description of any known suspects. Chief Rahinsky apologized for the incident but stated his officers acted appropriately.

If you have Black children in Grand Rapids, Michigan, be aware of how your police force could treat them and the subsequent apology.

As a reminder, here is the bodycam footage of Ofc. Caleb Johnson policing Black children in Grand Rapids:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJwsiMBAB2Y

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.



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