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Police in Sacramento face backlash for handcuffing 10-year-old girl – Was it necessary? (Video)

By Lee Cleveland - June 22, 2023

The recent incident involving the handcuffing of a 10-year-old girl by police officers in Sacramento, California, has sparked outrage and raised concerns about the appropriate use of force.

The incident, captured on body cam footage, has ignited a debate surrounding police practices and the treatment of minors, particularly in marginalized communities.

The Incident and Police Response
On the day of the incident, officers from the Sacramento Police Department were conducting a search related to a stolen car and a firearms investigation involving a “known gang member.” Upon arriving at the residence, the officers encountered individuals inside but received no response when they announced themselves. A person was observed running through the house, hastily turning off the lights.

According to the police account, the person was apprehended upon reaching the door and subsequently identified as a 10-year-old girl. The officers handcuffed her, unaware of her age, until they inquired and promptly removed the restraints upon realizing she was a minor.

The video footage reveals the distressing moment when the girl, dressed in her pajamas, pleads with the officers, expressing her fear and stating, “I’m a baby.”

Public Outrage and Official Statements
The release of the body cam footage and subsequent public outcry has led to widespread criticism of the officers involved. Many argue that the handcuffing of a 10-year-old, regardless of race, is a disproportionate and unnecessary use of force. Critics highlight the potential psychological impact on the child and question the justification provided by the Sacramento Police Department.

During a Sacramento City Council meeting, Police Chief Kathy Lester unequivocally stated that “there is no circumstance where it’s OK to handcuff a 10-year-old, regardless of race.” This acknowledgment by the Police Chief underscores the seriousness of the incident and acknowledges the need for accountability.

Racial Implications and Community Impact
The incident has also reignited discussions about racial bias and discriminatory practices within law enforcement. The girl involved in the incident is Black, leading to concerns that racial profiling may have played a role in the officers’ decision to handcuff her. Inspector General Dwight White has highlighted the stark contrast in treatment, suggesting that if the girl were of a different race, the outcome may have been different.

Dr. LaTesha Watson, Director of the Office of Public Safety Accountability and a former Nevada Police chief, emphasized the significance of necessity in such situations. While acknowledging that justification could be argued, she questions whether it was truly necessary to handcuff the 10-year-old girl, thus raising the central issue at hand.

Rebuilding Trust and Addressing Concerns
Instances like the one in Sacramento reinforce the urgency for law enforcement agencies to review their practices and policies, particularly regarding the treatment of minors.

In conclusion, the handcuffing of a 10-year-old girl in Sacramento has sparked outrage and ignited important conversations about police practices, the treatment of minors, and racial bias within law enforcement. It is imperative that we use this incident as an opportunity to reevaluate our current systems, implement necessary reforms, and work towards a future where all individuals, regardless of age or background, are treated with dignity and respect.