|The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun
News Managing Editor. All content © Native Sun News.
Officers cleared for tasing Rosebud child|
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Managing Editor
RAPID CITY — An investigation into the tasing of a 9-year-old child who is also an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, cleared Pierre police officers of any wrong doing according to Hughes County State’s Attorney, Wendy Kloeppner.
“Given the circumstances facing the officer at the time, it appears from the report that deploying a Taser was the best viable way to diffuse the situation,” said Kloeppner.
Pierre Police Chief Bob Grandpre also stated that the report concludes his review of the incident and that the officers had followed policy and training.
The investigation conducted by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation into the October incident and the officer’s decision to use an electroshock Taser on the child concluded that responding officers did not act “unreasonably”.
Police were called to the residence in Pierre on October 4, 2013 around 9 p.m. by a babysitter who reported to a 911 dispatcher, “I have a child in my house that has a knife and won’t put it down. She’s threatening to kill herself. She’s scaring me.” During the recording of the call the babysitter can be heard telling the child to put the knife down.
According to the report released by the Hughes County State’s attorney office the babysitter described the knife as a “steak knife.” However family members told Native Sun News just after the incident that the knife was a paring knife. The babysitter would say that the child never came at her with the knife or threatened to, but had pointed the knife at her several times.
Once at the residence two Pierre police officers and a Hughes county deputy sheriff made contact with the child. The officers reported that the knife was being held by the 9-year-old to her chest. One of the officers asked the child to drop the knife and told her that, “Things would be ok.” The officers reported that the child at one point thrust the knife at the Officers. The Officers continued to speak to the child asking her to drop the knife but the child refused. The child would then turn to walk down a hallway. It was then that the Officer shot the child with the Taser. The child was forced up against a wall and then slid down the wall to the ground during which the child let go of the knife.
The officer reported that the Taser was manually turned off short of the recommended 5 seconds. The Taser used by the officer shot two metal prongs in to the chest of the child which were removed immediately after. The report states that the child did not receive any physical injuries. However just after the incident family members told Native Sun News that the child was suffering nausea, headaches, and panic attacks.
It was estimated by the responding officers that they were in contact with the child for 1-2 minutes prior to deploying the Taser. The report does not say what spawned the officer to draw his Taser. The officer however did state that the Taser was chosen over an expandable baton, pepper spray, firearm, or grabbing the child in order to minimize the physical damage to the child. The report says that if the officers had tried to physically grab the child, either the officers or the child could have been stabbed.
The babysitter is also cited in the report saying that she thought the officers had responded “properly.”
According to the Hughes county State Attorney’s office no charges will be filed against the child or the officers.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright permission Native Sun News
Native Sun News: Police officer uses Taser on Rosebud Sioux girl (10/17)