“I was very scared and didn’t know what to do.”
That is what an 11-year-old girl told WFTV Channel 9 after being held to the ground at gunpoint by two police officers last week. The officers reported at the family’s home due to an accidentally activated burglary alarm in Groveland, Florida.
"One of the officers was pushing me down and when he was pushing me down, (he) put his knee on me and the other officer had his gun pointed at me,” she added.
The child was watching television when officers James Festa and John Rigdon, three-year veterans who have faced prior disciplinary actions, entered the home with their weapons drawn. The officers asked the child if she was the homeowner and then proceeded down the hall to her father’s room, reports Raw Story.
“Someone should get fired for doing something like this," said Jean Guirand, who is confused as to how any officer could view his daughter as a threat. “She's traumatized by it," he added.
Groveland police has begun an internal affairs procedure to determine whether there was excessive force used in this incident. Guirand hopes investigators will review the police report which interestingly did not contain any information about his daughter’s account. The chief is not able to comment publicly on the matter until the internal investigation is complete, but did tell Channel 9 that they are taking the allegations seriously.
According to the WFTV report, Officer Festa was reprimanded in December for “botching a child abuse investigation,” and was also suspended in 2013 for sleeping on the job. Officer Rigdon was suspended in May and demoted in 2013, in addition to being reprimanded two years prior. All of Officer Rigdon’s punishments were due to allegedly filing false police reports.
The child is expected to be interviewed by investigators on Monday which will hopefully provide some insight as to why the young girl was put in that situation.