The Cincinnati police officer who we reported about in 2018 for tasering an 11-year-old girl inside a Kroger has successfully appealed his seven-day suspension.
Tobie Braverman, the arbitrator handling the case brought forward by the Fraternal Order of Police, decided Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown followed policy, which allows officers to taser children as young as 7.
Police Union President Dan Hills said Brown will be compensated for lost wages during his unpaid suspension.
The arbitrator found Brown did not use excessive force for tasering the child for shoplifting food.
Department policy was updated earlier this year directing officers to avoid using tasers or other nonlethal force on young children, except in “exceptional circumstances,” according to Cincinnati.com.
It all started on August 7, 2018 after Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown allegedly observed Donesha Gowdy, who is now 13, shoplifting inside of the store.
Brown ordered Gowdy to stop.
Gowdy ignored Brown.
That’s when Brown drew his Taser, firing it into Gowdy’s back, sending Gowdy’s 90-pound body sprawling to the floor.
On October 29, Police Chief Eliot Isaac announced that officer Brown would face additional charges and that he’d already been demoted to the Telephone Crime Reporting Unit as a part of a disciplinary measure.
Chief Isaac said Brown would also receive training in the proper use of force and a seven day suspension, according to Inside Edition.
“We take these matters very seriously and are extremely concerned when force is used by one of our officers on a child of this age,” Chief Isaac said.
The Fraternal Order of Police defended Brown’s actions, claiming he acted within the department’s policy and procedure.
Gowdy had to be taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation after the Taser prongs were removed from her back.
Video footage of the incident sparked criticism not only for the level of force Brown utilized on an 11-year-old girl, but he can also be heard telling Gowdy she’s why there are “no grocery stores in the black community.”
“You know, sweetheart, this is why there’s no grocery stores in the black community,” he says.
Donna Gowdy, Donesha’s mother, says she didn’t agree with how officer Brown handled the situation, but says her daughter learned a tough lesson.
“Now you see what momma says, these policemen aren’t playing,” she explained to her daughter.
“It could have been a gun instead of a Taser.”
Braverman, the arbitrator for Brown’s appeal, pointed to evidence presented by the union from several other cases showing tasers being used by officer on children in cases that did not result in disciplinary action prior to the policy update.
Included in that evidence were different instances in which seven teens between 13 to 17 were stunned with one of those being suspected of shoplifting.
“It is axiomatic that similarly situated employees must be treated similarly,” Braverman wrote.
Had the new policy been in place when Brown stunned Donesha, he “would likely have violated policy,” Braverman found.
Braverman wrote in his decision that Donesha presented no substantial risk of harm to the public, but she did pose a risk to herself by running from the scene at night.
In October 2018, the city settled a lawsuit, after Donesha was tasered as she ran away from Brown.
Braverman also determined Brown committed other violations like not turning on his body camera and failing to provide warning before deploying his taser.