GR chief defends officers who cuffed child in shooting probe

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Police Department Chief David Rahinsky says officers who briefly handcuffed a 12-year-old child while investigating a report of a shooting followed their training.

"Officers showed compassion, they showed good judgment, the individual, the 12-year-old who was handcuffed was handcuffed for a minute and change, the tone of the officer, I think was appropriate. Officers did as they were trained to do, which puts themselves and the individuals they are dealing with in the best possible position in terms of officer safety and community safety," Rahinsky said Tuesday, after playing footage of the Oct. 9 incident from an officer's body camera. 

Rahinsky also played a recording of the 911 call that led to the response. GRPD altered the caller's voice to protect her privacy.

"Somebody shot one of my neighbors," the panicky caller tells the dispatcher before ordering relatives to back away from a window.

The caller said from a second floor window, her adult daughter saw a woman beg someone not to shoot her before being shot three times.

The caller also gave a detailed description of the home where she said the shooting happened, located at Batavia Place NE near Fulton Street.

The report turned out to be bogus, but while investigating, officers called out the family that was inside the home where it had reportedly happened.

Rennae Wooten said police pointed guns at her kids and briefly handcuffed her 12-year-old daughter when they responded to her home.

Body camera footage Rahinsky released Tuesday showed the girl following police orders to walk backwards, kneel and put her hands behind her back with her palms up before police briefly handcuffed her.

In the video, an officer tells the girl she is OK before asking the girl her name. When the girl tells police she's 12, the officer tells her they will quickly check her for weapons before taking the handcuffs off.

Wooten and police agree that the child was only handcuffed for a few moments, but Wooten said her daughter remains scared and hasn’t returned to school since the incident.

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