About a year ago, a young girl in Portland, Ore. was enjoying the weather and spending time with her aunt. What happened after two local police officers arrived, however, turned her family’s world upside down.
According to her mother, Latoya Harris, the nine-year-old was handcuffed, dragged into the police station wearing her swimsuit, and fingerprinted in response to her alleged role in a recent fight among kids at a community youth club.
“The look on my daughter’s face went from humiliation and fear to a look of sheer panic,” she told a local newspaper this week.
Harris admits her daughter was involved in an altercation, which was reportedly started by two other students but eventually included the young girl. The concerned mother, however, contends police acted recklessly in interrogating the child regarding her role in the fight.
“In my opinion, they were trying to scare and humiliate her,” Harris concluded, “All they had to do was give her a talking to. We’re talking about two grown men in uniform with guns.”
Since the incident, she has attempted to seek a resolution by filing and following a complaint with the Independent Police Review Division. That effort, however, has produced frustratingly little result, she complained.
“I’m just a mother at the end of her rope,” she said. “I’m going to advocate for my daughter; but no child should have to go through that.”
She said the elementary school student has been in therapy for much of the past year and, as a result of her treatment, is now “ a different child.”
The ordeal has led to the potential implementation of two new municipal ordinance changes, however. Under the suggested revision, police would be required to obtain a court order before taking a child under 10 into custody; and children between 10 and 11 could only be taken into custody without a court order in response to a Class A or Class B felony.
As for the police involved, Officer David McCarthy indicated in his report that the child was being evasive and vague in responding to questioning.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Portland Police Bureau (Portland, Oregon)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom