Kevin Brown is the Cincinnati police officer who tased an 11 year old girl after she was allegedly caught stealing food in a supermarket. Brown, 55, used his taser on 11 year old Donesha Gowdy in a Krogers supermarket on Monday night. He was off-duty at the time, working a second job as a security officer in the supermarket. Body cam footage showed Brown speaking to the girl, Donesha Gowdy, after he tased her, talling her that it had “hurt his heart” to tase her but that she should have obeyed the law.
Cincinnati police chief Eliot K. Isaac said that his department was “extremely concerned” about the use of a taser on such a young child. And many members of the public have expressed outrage, saying that this never would have happened if Donesha Gowdy had been white.
Kevin Brown has been put on “restricted duty” while the department investigates the incident. Donesha Gowdy has been charged with theft and obstructing police business. She is at home with her mother while she awaits her trial in juvenile court.
Here’s what you need to know about Kevin Brown:
1. Brown Tased 11 Year Old Donesha Gowdy After She Allegedly Refused to Put Back The Snacks She Had Taken
On Monday night, Officer Kevin Brown was off duty and was working his second job as a member of the security detail at the Spring Grove Village Kroger supermarket in Cincinnati. At about 9:30, he approached a group of young girls whom he suspected of shoplifting. But according to Brown, the girls ignored him and just walked away. Police later said that Gowdy’s backpack was full of stolen snacks.
Brown asked the girls to stop but — he says — they ignored his repeated commands to stop and were heading out of the store. So the 55 year old cop pulled out his taser and tased 11 year old Donesha Gowdy in the back.
Gowdy’s mother told reporters that her daughter had been stealing snacks — but she said Brown’s response was totally uncalled for. “She took some things which she shouldn’t have done, but at the same time, she didn’t have to get treated the way she did for taking those things, she’s only 11 years old.” said Gowdy.
The force of the taser apparently knocked the 11 year old to the ground and made her shake. She was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and examined before being allowed to return home with her mother. Gowdy said her daughter is still complaining of back pain and has had trouble sleeping.
2. The Cincinnati Police Department’s Guidelines Allow Cops to Use Tasers On People Over the Age of 7
According to the Cincinnati Police Department’s guidelines, Brown may not have actually broken the rules. The department tells officers not to use a taser on women who are visibly pregnant, or on anyone under the age of 7 or above the age of 70.
But the guidelines also say that Tasers should only be used on people who are actively resisting arrest, which can be tough to define precisely. “An individual simply fleeing from an officer, absent additional justification,
does not warrant the use of the TASER,” the manual states. “The TASER may be deployed on a suspect actively resisting arrest when there is probable cause to arrest the suspect.”
And the manual also says that the “preferred” use of a Taser is in the back: “The preferred target area is the back of the individual actively resisting arrest,” the guidelines read.
The department says it is investigating Brown to see whether he acted correctly in this incident. Chief Eliot Isaac told reporters that he was “extremely concerned” any time force is used on a child of this age. Donna Gowdy has blasted Brown for tasing her daughter, saying that he — a “big man” — should have been able to stop an 11 year old girl without resorting to his Taser.
3. Gowdy Is Wondering Why Brown Used a Taser Instead of Just Grabbing Her Mother By The Arm. Police Say They Are Reviewing Their Policies
Donna Gowdy, the mother of 11 year old Donesha Gowdy, says she wishes that Officer Brown had simply grabbed Donesha by the arm — instead of firing a Taser at her. And Gowdy told reporters that she could not understand why a “big man” like Brown wasn’t able to stop a small 11 year old girl. Donesha told NBC that the Taser knocked her to the ground and made her shake, making it hard for her to breathe. “It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn’t really breathe,” the 11 year old said.
Cincinnati police say they are reviewing Brown’s actions. It was not immediately clear whether there was any surveillance video of the incident. Brown said that he had tried to turn on his body cam but had been unable to. said his department would begin a thorough review of the policies concerning the using force on juveniles.
But police also said they are looking into whether their policy in Tasers needs to be changed. Chief Eliot Isaac said he was “extremely concerned” any time force is used on a child of Donesha’s age. Eliot vowed that the department would carry out review of the policies concerning the using force on children.
4. Donesha Gowdy Was In Krogers With Her 9 Year Old Sister When She Was Tased. Police Said Her Backpack Was Full of Stolen Snacks
Donesha Gowdy told reporters that she had been in Krogers with her 9 year old sister and another friend on Monday night, when the incident happened. Her mother says that Donesha has been having trouble sleeping and has complained about back pain since the incident. Donesha told NBC that the Taser knocked her to the ground and made her shake, making it hard for her to breathe. “It hit my back real fast and then I stopped, then I fell and I was shaking and I couldn’t really breathe,” the 11 year old said.
Police said that Donesha’s bag was full of snacks which the 11 year old had taken from Krogers. Her mother, Dona, did not deny that Donesha had stolen the snacks, and she said she had spoken to her daughter about stealing. But Gowdy said that the use of force was disproportionate and uncalled for, and said she wishes that Brown had just run after her daughter and grabbed her by the arm.
5. Members of the Public Expressed Outrage at the Tasing. Many Said that Donesha Gowdy Would Never Have Been Tased If She Had Been White
Social media was buzzing with outrage after news about the incident began to circulate. On Twitter, many users said that Kevin Brown should be fired. You can read some of people’s responses below: