Cincinnati Police Are Allowed to Tase Suspects as Young as 7 Years Old

The tasing of an 11-year-old girl highlights a police department's policies.


|||John Roman/Dreamstime.com
John Roman/Dreamstime.com

An Ohio police department's policy on Taser has come into the spotlight after an officer tased an 11-year-old girl.

According to the Cincinnati Police Department, an unidentified officer was working an "outside employment detail" at a Kroger grocery store in Spring Grove Village. The officer was assigned there to investigate a group of girls accused of shoplifting. While on duty, the officer issued "several commands" telling an 11-year-old to stop walking away from him. (Though the department's press release does not explain what led to the confrontation, the Columbia Dispatch reports that the girl was allegedly seen stealing food and putting it into her backpack.) The officer then deployed his Taser on the girl's back.

The girl was taken into custody on charges of theft and obstruction of official business. She was then transferred to a children's hospital and eventually released into parental custody. She is set to appear at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court at a later date.

Following the incident, police Chief Elliot K. Isaac said that he was "highly concerned" with the use of a Taser on such a young child. Isaac announced an investigation and said the officer involved would be placed on "restricted duty" pending the outcome. He also promised to evaluate footage from the incident, but police later revealed that the officer's body camera was not turned on during the confrontation.

City policy, as reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer, lists age requirements for Taser use: "Officers should avoid using the Taser on obviously pregnant females and those individuals under the age of 7 or over the age of 70 due to the potential for these individuals to fall when incapacitated by a taser, unless the encounter rises to the level of a deadly force situation."

"There needs to be a complete investigation," Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman tells the Enquirer. "It's hard to understand why an 11-year-old would be tased. I expect answers in 24 hours."

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  1. If a 7 year old can pick a gender and consent to sex, he or she can get tazed.

    1. Is someone proposing making 7 the age of consent?

      1. Those good people at C4SS Center for a Stateless Society – far left “libertarians.” Bunch of Marxists, really.

  2. >>> and those individuals under the age of 7

    “I’m 6 and 11/12ths”

  3. Cincinnati Police Are Allowed to Tase Suspects as Young as 7 Years Old

    “Officers should avoid using the Taser on obviously pregnant females and those individuals under the age of 7 or over the age of 70 …..”

    I’m sure you’re aware of the legal distinction between “should” and “shall”. Cincinnati police are allowed to tase suspects as young as still-have-the-umbilical-cord-attached. It’s just officially frowned upon to tase newborn babies.

    1. I mean shouldn’t they avoid using a taser period?

      1. No, why should they?

        1. I suppose you’ll argue using a taser is safer and less force than physical restraint. I don’t see how that works for kids. Seems like it would be easy to subdue kids and cuff with minimal effort. It seems to me that not being able to restrain children would be a deal breaker for becoming a cop but in this nutso world it’s actually being too intelligent that’s the deal breaker.

          1. Some of those 11 year olds look 18. Some fight like the devil. I’d rather the cop was suspended for having the body cam off than worry about how old the kid was.

            1. re: “Some … 11 year olds look 18. Some fight like the devil.”

              Hard to see why that applies when every report including the officer’s shows that she was tazed while she was walking away from him. No fighting. No violence at all. Just non-compliance with a verbal order that maybe she didn’t hear. Or didn’t understand. Or heard but thought the officer was yelling at someone else.

            2. Some of those 11 year olds look 18.

              While I’m sure that’s a phrase you’ve said before, please show me which of “those” 11 year-olds look 18.

          2. I suppose you’ll argue using a taser is safer and less force than physical restraint.

            I have little doubt that that is indeed the case in most circumstances. The more that a suspect struggles, the greater the risk of injury to them when they’re being subdued.

            1. Depending on whose statistics you believe, there are anywhere from over 500 to a but under 1000 documented deaths due to tasers. Unfortunately, we cannot turn that into a death rate statistic because we have no data at all on how frequently they are used.

              They are, however, most definitely NOT automatically “safer” than physical restraint. In a number of cases (such as the elderly woman who was tazed while in a metal wheelchair), they are significantly more dangerous than traditional restraints.

              More to the point, any restraint is supposed to be proportionate to the situation. Tasers are way over-used.

        2. A Taser is between baton and firearm on the force spectrum, but police are trained to use them as if they were only slightly more dangerous than a harsh word. This is also why police shoot people instead of tasing them when feeling (or wanting to feel) threatened — why would you use a compliance device instead of a weapon to defend yourself?

          Meanwhile, people die and die and die from Taser shocks, because they really are more dangerous than beating someone with a steel baton.

          1. The problem is that they see it as a compliance tool, not a self-defense tool.

        3. I know right? Why don’t they skip the taser and just grab her and punch her right in her stupid 11 year old face as hard as possible. I mean she had it coming, right?

      2. It stopped her, didn’t it? Perhaps you would rather have a 200 pound officer tackle a 100 pound kid?

        I SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, to discover she was tazed.

        1. Perhaps you should consider the fact that there are more than just those two options.

    2. also answers “how are they gonna card seven year-olds?”

      1. she. . .”Didn’t du nuffin. . .”

    3. If those babies don’t want to get tased they should follow instructions and STOP RESISTING!

  4. Yeah, um, this is why we need to keep an eye on police procedures.

  5. It’s hard to understand why an 11-year-old would be tased.

    General lack of accountability?

    1. Disrespect for elders?

    2. Because the alternative was being called a “pedophile” for touching an 11 year old?

  6. I’m not really that bothered by a police officer using a taser to apprehend a suspect who has repeatedly disobeyed a lawful command to stop. There’s probably greater risk of injury to the person that they’re apprehending (not to mention any innocent bystanders) if the police officer uses more direct physical force to subdue them. More to the point ? the alleged shoplifter was the one in the wrong and should have stopped when she was instructed to. She didn’t and therefore bears the responsibility for what happens afterwards.

    1. This person was off-duty, working for a private employer. What made his demand a “lawful command?”

      You sound like an authoritarian dope.

      1. Does a person has a duty to obey a moonlighting police officer under penalty of pain? Subsequently, can that off-duty person be tased by another private individual for failing to stop assaulting a minor child? It’s quite a conundrum that I am sure is covered by department procedures should we ever get to see them.

        1. Yes, because a police officer working as part of an outside employment detail is still working as a police officer:

          “Extension of Police Service Outside Employment: The off-duty use of enforcement powers and training as provided to Police Division members by the city. In the case of extension of police service employment, the employer hires not the individual, but the uniform, badge, gun, and authority of the officer. This activity must remain closely regulated. All rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and directives applicable to officers in an on duty status also apply to officers engaged in extension of police service outside employment.”


        2. Law enforcement officers are never “off-duty”.–Barbara Boxer

          When the progressive far left is this in tank for cops, what chance do we have?

          1. Not a left wing pov, Standard police academy indoctrination.

    2. Get off of your knees.

      1. He would, but there’s probably an off-duty, plain-clothes officer telling him to remain there until he finishes. Just following orders!

    3. One has to ask, what sort of a parent tells or teaches a kid that when the PO LEECE tell you to stop the appropriate action is to keep walking hoping they will go away?

      Sounds like the kid needed a shock collar, but no doubt there would be plenty of RESISTANCE. WATTS UP with that? Maybe she will get GROUNDED!

      1. … what sort of a parent tells or teaches a kid that when the PO LEECE tell you to stop the appropriate action is to keep walking hoping they will go away…

        I’m thinking it’s the type of parents who teach their children to steer clear of predators. The type of parent who understands that cops taze 11-year-olds in the back.

        You know, good parents who love their kids,

  7. The “officer” was not an officer in this context. He was an off-duty rent-a-cop, a gun for private hire.

    Why is he unidentified? He used a weapon against a child. Tough enough to tase an eleven-year-old, but too delicate to be identified by name?

    Hunch: This tough guy’s name is Paul Blart. Or Barney Fife.

    1. > The “officer” was not an officer in this context. He was an off-duty rent-a-cop, a gun for private hire.

      The law is clear on this issue. You are wrong. The officer holds the office 100% of the time.in the office. You may, however, be interested to find out that the courts have ruled that the rights, privileges and duties inhere in the functional performance of the office, NOT the person holding it.

    2. So, I am sure Rev. that you would have loaded her down with food for her family, but its apparent, the shopkeeper had a longstanding problem with THEFT. Even Jesus counseled that such actions were not good.

      The kid was in the wrong, and you have to ask, seriously, what sort of parent teaches their children that when the PO LEECE tell you to stop, the appropriate action is to pretend you didn’t her them and keep going. After all, that works so well.

      These days, maybe a 11 year old would never yell RAPE against a man of the cloth, but would not hesitate against a cop. Sorry, your argument does not hold water.

    3. You clearly don’t know the laws surrounding off duty cops.

  8. That’s the Columbus Dispatch, not Columbia.

  9. If the act of arresting the perp (the child) causes more harm to the perp than the perp did to her victim (Kroger), what’s just about anything that follows?

    Sorry–tasering a child is like 40 points on cop bingo. That cop probably got his chicken fingers and gravy bought for him that day.

    1. Then don’t complain about ‘food deserts’ when Kroger closes because of all the shoplifting.

      1. Anyone who can defend a cop tasing an 11 year old girl for any reason is a despicable human being and a blot on the human race.

        His wife should divorce him and family never speak to him again if they have an ounce of self worth.

        1. How can you say that? Were you there? Did you see what happened. Better yet, what would you do if an 11 year old walked in your home and grabbed your laptop, or jewelry? After all, if you did ANYTHING to the kid YOU are a despicable human being. . .

    2. The little thief shouldn’t have tried to get away.

  10. The officer then deployed his Taser on the girl’s back.

    How do you surmise that it was the officer who shocked the girl with a Taser? The article merely mentions that the girl “was shocked.” Please read more carefully before assuming things.

    1. Yes, we are to assume that a random electrical discharge occurred which simultaneously shocked the girl while the officer was pointing his taser. We are talking about this unrelated story for no apparent reason in conjunction with taser usage.


  11. This is BS. An 11-year-old is old enough to be held responsible when she steals. Keep tasing them.

    1. You should be tased when you show up late for work or drive over the speed limit.

  12. Well, you have to admit, there’s nothing more lethal in this world than a seven year old with his lemonade stand.

  13. … the officer involved would be placed on “restricted duty”

    No taser. Just live rounds.

  14. Jesus Christ. I hope the people “defending” this cop on here are just trolling. Who the fuck shoots a child with a taser for walking away from them? Are you so weak, so incompetent, so fearful of an 11yo girl that you can’t handle her without shooting her?

    1. Someone who was afraid he’d hurt her more if he grabbed her and she tried to get away?

      Someone who was afraid he’d get accused of police brutality if he grabbed her?

      Someone who was afraid he’d get accused of sexual assault if he grabbed her?

      Most men can easily handle an 11 year old girl.

      But in THIS world that’s not necessarily a good thing.

      For example, if he’d grabbed her and she fell, you and yours would be talking about how the ‘big’, ‘strong’, cop attacked a child. If he grabbed her and she cried ‘brutality’ or worse, you’d still be on him.

      You all act as if these things are so simple. You’ve put the cop in a situation where, even if they do exactly what you say in the process of stopping a crime or apprehending a person who is acceptable to you as a perpetrator (meaning you don’t have a mountain of excuses for their crime or feel that it WAS a crime) , you’ll still find something to call them out for……..if the crime is reported on. If it’s not you all don’t care at all.

      1. Someone who mysteriously had his body cam OFF? Rather convenient.This cop was like the other 98% out there…”Respect MY authority, or else.”

        By the way, I didn’t put this cop in ANY situation. My guess is he applied for the job.

        1. So, how do you propose police stop juveniles who are attempting to evade arrest? Just let ’em go? That is working so well in Chicago with gang bangers. . .

          No worries, those cops aren’t going to touch you!

          1. How I would propose it be handled is completely irrelevant. The theme of this story is whether or not the cop *HAD* to use his taser on an 11 year old…or if he just wanted to (ultimately the dept policy). I still want to know why his body cam was off. What was he up to?

            Chicago is a result of the people and policies that have been in place there for decades.

            I’m not sure why you state the cops aren’t going to touch me. You’re not talking about my special place, are you?

      2. Nah, not really Az. A lot of the lolbertarians here would be screaming police brutality, but not me. I’m pretty well in the middle on that stuff. I don’t freak out about most of Reason’s police stories. Tasing should be reserved for threats of deadly force, not someone–even an adult–walking away from you.

        I understand that if you wrestle with someone who is much smaller than you there’s the real chance they’ll be harmed. Now, if he physically restrained her by beating her head into the curb a-la Trayvon Martin, then I’d be back on board with doing something about him, but that seems like an egregious use of force, as opposed to “oops, she got a few bruises when he grabbed her and she struggled.”

        1. I hope that you’re recognizing that it was Trayvon Martin that was beating George Zimmerman’s head into the curb, and not vice versa.

          1. Yes. That was my point. Trayvon Martin was beating some dude’s head into the curb and got killed for it.

      3. > if he’d grabbed her and she fell,

        Ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght. Because when people get tased, they stay completely upright, and never, EVER fall over. Ri-i-i-i-i-i-ght.

        1. I think the gist of what Azathoth is getting at is valid. There’s no “good” answer to this situation–especially when dealing with people like the commentariat here. If he tasers her, she could fall and get injured from the fall. And they can be quite lethal. So we scream “You weak, pathetic excuse for a man! How dare you….”

          Compare with the physical restraint where the cop restrains, cuffs and arrests/detains the girl. She gets bruised up–or god forbid a broken arm–because she tries to run, he tackles her, and that’s what happens when a 180lb man tackles a 40lb girl. Then the commentariat screams “You weak, pathetic excuse for a man! How dare you…”

          The cop was called to a shoplifting situation, and he should be expected to deal with it in a reasonable manner. Which is going to necessarily mean detaining–and likely restraining–the shoplifter. It would be unreasonable to criticize him no matter what he does, but the folks here are liable to do just that.

          1. The “Average” weight for an 11 year old girl in the United States is 81.5lbs Not to mention, how do you know she didn’t have a knife or worse.

            I guess you would have prefered the cop to tackle her? Just because she was a juve, she was not exempt from the lawful order of a police officer.

      4. Poor poor hired cop! Everyone thinking about the 11 year old who got tased. Who thinks about the poor poor cop who had to do it? All those bad things that could have happened to him.

      5. Someone who was afraid he’d hurt her more if he grabbed her and she tried to get away…” shouldn’t be a cop

        Someone who was afraid he’d get accused of police brutality if he grabbed her…” shouldn’t be a cop

        Someone who was afraid he’d get accused of sexual assault if he grabbed her…” shouldn’t be a cop

    2. She shouldn’t have shoplifted and none of this would have happened.

      1. Exactly. That’s why the Bill of Rights has the “unless you’ve shoplifted” exemption.

        Oh, and you know she shoplifted, how?

        That’s right, the cop who tazed her in the back says so.

        1. Well, no.

          SHE says that she was shoplifting.

          1. When exactly did “SHE say that she was shoplifting?”

            The writer of this article didn’t interview the child, nor did The Columbus Dispatch, which first broke the story.

  15. This is why I do not care nor do others when Cops are shot in the face.
    ” What goes down the devils back comes up its belly “

  16. He tasered her because he knew that a normal 11 year could get away from a doughnut stuffed cop just by walking fast.

  17. So its ok to tase a 7 year old but not a 6 year old – good thing they have those IDs on lanyards around their necks.

    I want the minutes form that policy meeting, please.

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