Chief: Why the use of an ECD on a child was justified

An 8-year-old girl held a knife to her chest and refused to let police come closer


By PoliceOne Staff

PIERRE, S.D. —  Pierre Police Chief Bob Grandpre is defending an officer’s use of a TASER on an 8-year-old girl who was threatening to kill herself with a knife.

Police were responding to a call Friday night of a suicidal girl whose babysitter reported had stabbed herself in the leg. When police arrived, she was holding a 4 ½ inch knife to her chest, and refused to put it down or let officers approach her, according to the Argus Leader.

When an officer stepped forward, the girl reportedly turned the knife toward him. He deployed a TASER to her chest and stomach, and EMTs arrived soon after to check her and bring her to the hospital.

“He quite possibly saved the juvenile’s life that night,” the chief said of the officer, who is still working.

The girl’s parents want the officer disciplined for using excessive force, according to the report.

“TASERs are for grown adults, not 8-year-old girls,” said Bobby Jones, the child’s father. “They say it was for her own safety, but there is no justification for that.”

NBC News reports a 2011 Department of Justice report recommends against using electronic control devices on children. “The seeming safety margins of CED use on normal healthy adults may not be applicable to small children,” the report says, although the authors add, “The use of CEDs against these populations (when recognized) should be avoided, but may be necessary if conditions exclude other reasonable choices.”

The girl was placed on a 24-hour hold at the hospital, where staff reported not seeing any stab wounds on her legs. 

  1. Tags
  2. Investigations
  3. Juvenile Crime
  4. Use of Force

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