NAACP calls for more action after police handcuff and detain 11-year-old girl

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The NAACP is calling for change in law enforcement across Kent County after body camera video was released last week showing an 11-year-old girl handcuffed and detained during an investigation.

Honestie Hodges, 11, was handcuffed and detained by Grand Rapids Police Department officers while they were searching for a stabbing suspect, who was a 41-year-old white woman.

"I have a question for the Grand Rapids Police: if this happened to a white child, if her mother was screaming she’s 11, would you have handcuffed her and put her in the back of a police car?" said Honestie Hodges to FOX 17 Tuesday.

Hodges asked her poignant question after the NAACP of Greater Grand Rapids' press conference Tuesday, just weeks after GRPD officers handcuffed and detained her during their search for a stabbing suspect.

"As a mother, I was supposed to protect her and they didn’t let me protect my baby," Whitney Hodges, Honestie's mother, told FOX 17.

"You heard the scream, my baby was terrified and I couldn’t be there for her," she said referring to released video.

The NAACP is asking the city to pay for culturally competent counseling for the Hodges family, and calls on GRPD to release the full uninterrupted body camera footage from this incident within 24 hours, as well as take appropriate disciplinary actions against the involved officers and review its officer discretion policy on detaining youth.

"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, NAACP of Greater Grand Rapids president.

GRPD Chief David Rahinsky was speaking with city council members during the press conference, according to department officials, and says he will continue to speak with the NAACP, Grand Rapids Area Pastors and the Hodges family. Previously, Rahinksy told FOX 17 that police protocol needs to change.

"If an officer can point to policy or can point to training or point to hiring, and say this is what I was told, this is how I was taught, this is consistent with practice, then we’ve got a problem," said GRPD Chief David Rahinksy. "And what I just said is accurate, we do have a problem."

Rahinsky faces backlash from the police union, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association, whose leaders say he should have been more supportive of the officers. GRPOA President Andy Bingle says while Honestie does not look like the suspect description at the time, officers have to take precautions to secure a scene.

"When I think of success, I think nobody got hurt in that incident," said Bingle. "So many things can go wrong and nobody got hurt. Honestie yes, she was in handcuffs, it was for about two minutes and maybe she should’ve been out sooner, maybe not, I wasn’t there, but I think two minutes or less is enough time to make that call."

While the NAACP thanked Rahinsky for his empathy, they also call on he and the GRPOA to take steps together to unify the community, including addressing the protocols that led to this incident.

"You should not have to fear walking down your street, or coming out of your home," said Jackson. "You should not be terrified of being wrongfully detained like 11-year-old Honestie Hodges, or the five young boys ordered to the ground, held at gunpoint, and handcuffed on their way home earlier this year in March."

As for Honestie, who says she's wanted to become a police officer for as long as she can remember, her dream is tainted.

"I thought that [police] help protect people the correct way, but ever since they dealt with me like that I don’t really think that they help protect people the correct way," said Hodges. "And before this all happened, I wanted to help people."

Jackson says the NAACP is determining whether to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, and encourages the Hodges family to officially file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. They also ask residents to attend Tuesday's Grand Rapids City Council meeting at 7 p.m. to voice concerns.

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12 comments

  • Old Bob

    Does anyone know who the jerk with the gray spot in his hair that does all the crying is. They had a big turn out today. All six of them. I wonder if he has a job.

  • Bud

    Where is NAACP every time someone in their community guns down someone else?
    Seems to me their efforts would be better served providing mentors/programs for kids and convincing them to stay in school and continue on to college or trade school.

  • Old Bob

    It must make for a miserable life when you spend all your time looking for things that offend you Cle Jackson. I truly feel sorry for you.

  • Clucko

    Hey, NAACP moron. Here’s a novel idea for ya. How about blacks stop breaking laws at the rate they commit them? How about the idea that an 11 year old can pull a trigger just like an adult? Get a grip and remember that the cops are always staring at the broken end of the bottle yet they are expected to treat with kid gloves those that very well kill them.

  • Robert E Lee

    cops point a gun at an 11 y/o and handcuff her because cops now a days (especially) the young ones are pussies and afraid of everything. cops today are trained to kill not to talk down or get into a physical confrontation. another reason is a large number of solders return from war to be cops. They should not be policing citizens, when in the military you are not trained to talk down you are trained to kill. is that what you want in a cop? its good for war and protecting the country from foreign invaders but not to police everyday citizens. back in the 60’s and 70’s would you want to populate a majority of your police forces with solders from the Vietnam war? PTSD anyone???

  • Fair is fair

    Wonder, maybe we should start a NAAWP.
    I bet the racists would get a wee bit upset.
    We need a national white caucus in congress as well.