SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND DELAYS

Commissioner calls for “Honestie Policy” after girl was handcuffed by police

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich-- Nearly two weeks after an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed by Grand Rapids police officers during a search for a stabbing suspect, one city commissioner is calling for a new policy.

During Tuesday night's city commission meeting, Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky told the public the department has offered counseling to 11-year-old Honestie Hodges and her family. He also said the remaining 100 minutes of body camera footage from the December 6 incident would be released Wednesday.

Chief Rahinsky's address to the commission and public was followed by an address from City Commissioner Joseph Jones, who is calling for changes when it comes to how police officers are trained.

"I believe we’re putting our officers in danger when we assign them  to shifts where there’s little to no engagement with more seasoned officers," said Jones. "I think it’s a lot to ask young newly-minted officers to make split-second decisions and engage in using critical-thinking skills when their lived experiences as adults is limited."

Commissioner Jones also requested changes for how officers deal with minors.

"I want to see a policy, a protocol that specifically speaks to how, in the future, our department will engage with children when called into action. My recommendation would be we refer to this as the 'Honestie Policy,'" said Jones.

Officers say Honestie was cuffed briefly during the December 6 search and released a short time later. The suspect they had been looking for was eventually found at a nearby home and taken into custody.

Since that incident, there has been much outcry from the public, including the NAACP, who held a press conference Tuesday morning.

"We cannot and will not stand by to watch our children be aggressively and strategically targeted and terrorized by the police sworn to protect them," said Cle Jackson, the President of the NAACP of Greater Grand Rapids.

"I think they make very valid points and some of them we are already following up on," said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in reference to the NAACP's statements. "I think they have a right to be upset. I think everyone has a right to their experience and how they respond to an incident like this, so absolutely, I respect the anger and the outrage that we’re hearing from the community."

Mayor Bliss also told FOX 17 there is a need for increased communication between the community, city leaders and police. While she called video of Honestie being handcuffed 'heartbreaking' she also told us this has not changed her opinion of the police department as a whole.

"This isn’t the police department against the community and it’s unfortunate that a division is being created," said Mayor Bliss. "They have an incredibly tough job, but [I] can also appreciate the community in saying ‘we can do better,’ there are systemic issues that we need to face and that we’re in this together."

In addition to the rest of the body camera footage being released, Chief Rahinsky says the results of an internal investigation should be released by the end of the week.

 

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14 comments

  • Old Bob

    The city is right we do have a fundamental problem here. That problem is there is a small segment of our community who think they deserve special treatment. They need to grow up and stop wasting the cities time and the taxes payers money. If they are not happy here move, no one will miss them.

  • J.B.

    “Honestie”
    Anyone else catching the complete irony of this kids name?
    Because i sure am not seeing much “Honesty” from this kid,her parents,or their NAACP lawyer, or the police chief, or the mayor, or anyone else in this story.
    The same cops they are complaining about now…are going to be the same cops that they frantically call when little “Honestie” becomes yet another statistic in the same crime ridden segment of the community that they have also been complaining about for decades on end…..lets see the NAACP do something about that for once.

    • Duchess

      It does seem as though she’s milking her 15 minutes for all she can get. As for her being “a child” that’s true, however she has the ability to tell her parents and that race-bating Cle Jackson “No, I don’t want to be on TV anymore.” but she doesn’t – she’s right there, out in front…
      ,

  • Commonsense

    What a load of crap. Commissioners now hopping on the credit bandwagon. This one in particular needs to pull several shifts out on the street to see how things really are. One good note: glad to see former Commissioner Gutowski at this meeting. We need your voice back in this City!

  • Clucko

    Honesty in any relationship is a two-way proposition, and in this community it is not being viewed as such. In the eyes of many, the cops are always at fault. Just ask them. But, until those people start to admit that they very often the cause of the problem they are involved in, nothing will change for the better. Nothing.

    • Old Bob

      Some one has got to manage the police department. That fool we call the chief of police sure isn’t up to the task. He’s spending all his time kissing the minorites butts.

  • Michael

    I agree there should be an “Honestie policy”.

    It should go somewhat like-

    “The chief of police and city commission shall not publicly comment against their officers until all available material has been reviewed and officers are given a chance to explain themselves”.

  • Old Bob

    The Chief of Police and his staff are having another meeting today with those fools from the NAACP. Don’t any of them have a job they need to go to.