A South Dakota police officer was cleared of any wrongdoing after he Tasered an 8-year-old girl in October.
An independent investigation requested by the Pierre Police Department, after their own internal investigation was completed, found the officer, who was not named, did not act unreasonably when he Tasered a suicidal 8-year-old girl.
Pierre police responded to a call from a babysitter on Oct. 4, when the 8-year-old was making suicidal comments and allegedly stabbing herself in the leg.
When officers arrived they found the girl with a 4.5-inch knife. She had it pointed to her chest.
According to the police report, she would not respond to verbal commands from the officers.
She then pointed the knife at an officer and began to leave the room. That’s when the officer Tasered her.
A medical examination found no stab wounds on the girl’s legs.
Her parents later contacted a local newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, alleging that the officers had used excessive force on the 8-year-old. They claimed their daughter was in pain the following night after she was Tasered.
“Tasers are for grown adults, not 8-year-old girls,” said the child’s father, Bobby Jones. “They say it was for her own safety, but there is no justification for that.”a
On Oct. 9, Pierre Police Chief Bob Grandpre defended the officer’s actions.
“He quite possibly saved the juvenile’s life that night,” he said.
Hughes County State’s Attorney Wendy Kloeppner says she is satisfied with the report, which was released Tuesday.
“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,” Kloeppner said in a statement.