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Law Firm Finds Cincinnati Police Tased 110 Minors Over 5 Years


Updated: 7:43 p.m.  

The Tasing and settlement in the case of an 11-year-old girl after an August shoplifting incident is shining new light on juvenile policing practices in Cincinnati. Gerhardstein & Branch, the law firm representing Donesha Gowdy's family, says Cincinnati Police Tased more than 100 minors in the last five years.

As part of an ongoing refresh of the Collaborative Agreement, Cincinnati is scheduled to review cases of racial imbalance, trauma and overall force. Gowdy's family requested a broad review of the principles governing the use of force on juveniles.

Gerhardstein & Branch combed through Cincinnati Police records and found between January 1, 2013 and August 14, 2018, police Tased 110 minors. It says all but six of the minors Tased were black; 48 were between the ages of 11 and 15. Police policy says officers can Tase anyone between the ages of seven and 70.

"Our investigation shows a pattern of excessive force against nonviolent young people," Attorney Al Gerhardstein says.

Gowdy apologized to Kroger in a letter.Cincinnati and Kroger agreed to pay $240,000 to settle the claim of excessive force. Gerhardstein says a police officer working at the Spring Grove Village Kroger Tased Gowdy, who weights 90 pounds and is 4'11" tall.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Eliot Isaac announced Tuesday discipline for the officer who Tased Gowdy.

A statement says Officer Kevin Brown will receive a written and two oral reprimands for violating department policy. Brown will also be suspended from duty for seven days, and is prohibited from working outside the department for two months. He'll also have to undergo use of force training. Brown has been working on the Telephone Crime Reporting Unit.

The statement says the department is committed to developing a juvenile problem-solving team.

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.
Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.