On December 6, 11-year-old Honestie Hodges was walking out of the backdoor of her home when she was confronted by a swarm of Grand Rapids police officers with guns drawn.
The fifth-grader was on her way to the store with her mom, Whitney Hodges and aunt, Aisha Rosa when she was handcuffed, patted down, and thrown in the back of a cop car
According to the police report, the officers were at the house to arrest the girl’s other aunt, 40-year-old Carrie Manning, who was suspected of stabbing a family member earlier that day.
Officers searched the Hodges’ house but Manning wasn’t there. She was found the next day at another home and arrested on charges of assault with intent to murder and resisting and obstructing arrest, as well as an outstanding warrant.
Video of the incident was captured by the police officer's body camera. After the footage was released on Tuesday, outraged members of the community contacted city officials demanding answers. Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky attended a city council meeting that evening to answer questions.
“I imagine that the officers may have thought that the potentially the weapon may have been secreted by the eleven-year-old if she had been asked by someone older than herself to hold it,” Chief Rahinsky said.
“That being said that's not a defense of what we just saw and I think you can tell from my earlier statements I'm not looking for explanations. I'm not looking for excuses. What I'm looking for is answers and I think that's the same thing that the community is gonna want I think that's what the community is going to demand and I think it's what we need to provide.”
The video shows Honestie screaming in terror as she's put in handcuffs at gunpoint.
Rahinsky said hearing the young girl’s terrified screams and cries for help from her mother made him sick.
“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,” he said.
The Grand Rapids Police Department says they've launched an internal investigation into the case.
According to the Sentencing Project, African-American kids are arrested 24% more often than white kids.
When probed by reporters, Rahinsky reluctantly admitted race may have been in a factor in the way Honestie was treated.
“I wouldn't deny the fact that there may be an underlying racial dynamic that, as a department and as a community we continued at the conversation on and those are conversations that are difficult not just in law enforcement but for us as a community as a whole but I think that's part of this conversation as well.”
According to MLive.com, the girl's family has been contacted by an attorney and a representative of the NAACP about the incident.