A mother has filed a federal lawsuit against the South Dakota police officers who she alleges used excessive force when taking her 8-year-old daughter down with a taser last October.
The woman, Dawn Stenstrom, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the incident, in which four police officers subdued the young girl, who was wielding a knife. The defendents listed in the case are the city of Pierre, Pierre Police Chief Robert Grandpre and four unnamed police officers.
The incident took place when the girl's babysitter alerted the police that she was wielding a knife and was allegedly attempting to harm herself.
According to Raw Story, the knife was "described as a paring knife."
"Four police officers in close proximity to an eight-year-old Indian child with a kitchen knife in her hand made no attempt to simply grab the knife from the girl or grab the girl's arm. Instead, within minutes of arriving on the scene, one of them shot her with a Taser," said Dana Hanna, one of the attorneys representing Stenstrom and her daughter, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Despite Stenstrom's allegations of excessive force, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation ultimately ruled that the officers involved in the incident responded appropriately.
According to Raw Story, Police Chief Robert Grandpre also defended the actions of the officers.
"He [the officer who deployed the Taser] quite possibly saved the juvenile's life that night," Grandpre said.
The Police Chief added that the child's age could not be considered a factor when it comes to the actions of the responding officers.
"We can't control if the threat is 8 or 80," said Grandpre.