Cincinnati officer who uses Taser on 11-year-old shoplifter to get back pay

A police officer working an off-duty detail at a Cincinnati Kroger store who used a Taser on an 11-year-old girl caught shoplifting will get back pay for his seven-day suspension.

Sgt. Dan Hils, Fraternal Order of Police president, announced Tuesday that Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown had been cleared of accusations he used excessive force when stunning the girl with a Taser on the night of Aug. 6, 2018, our media partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

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Brown had been working an off-duty detail providing security at the Kennard Avenue Kroger store when he noticed the girl, with other girls, shoplifting. He ordered her three times to stop; she instead ran, and he used his Taser to stun her before taking her into custody.

An internal use-of-force review found the girl had been carrying $53.81 in stolen items such as candy, beef jerky and infant clothing in her backpack. She cried as firefighters removed the Taser barbs from her back, and Brown attempted to comfort her, WCPO reported. Sitting in a back office at the Kroger Brown — who, like the girl, is black — told her: "This is why there aren't any grocery stores in the black community, because of all this going on.”

Arbitrator Tobie Braverman disputed the initial findings of the Cincinnati Police Department and ruled that Brown had followed CPD guidelines about use of force, which then permitted the use of a Taser on anyone between the ages of 7 and 70, although he had failed to warn the girl before stunning her and did not turn on his body camera until after she had been detained.

“He was broken-hearted over the whole incident, the way he was treated,” Hils said of Brown.

Hils said he blamed local media, City Council and police Chief Eliot Isaac, all of whom he accused of “Monday morning quarterbacking” as they analyzed Brown’s actions, re-examined use-of-force guidelines for the department and settled with the girl’s family for $240,000.

Hils said Tuesday that the girl should have known to stop the first time and that an 11-year-old is old enough to take responsibility for breaking the law, WCPO reported.