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There have been multiple incidents that have made it clear not even pre-teen Black children are immune to a cop’s tendency to be more aggressive and reckless when dealing with Black citizens. In 2021, a viral video showed a policewoman in Rochester, New York, pepper spraying a visibly distraught 9-year-old Black girl in the eyes and then cop-splain to the not-even-adolescent child that she deserved it because she was behaving unruly. Before that, police officers in Aurora, Colorado, put children, the youngest of whom was 6, in handcuffs and laid them on the ground face-down after pulling over the SUV they were riding in, which they suspected was stolen despite the fact that the vehicle description they had was of a motorcycle.

But this phenomenon of cops disregarding common sense in the presence of Black children who may or may not have failed to follow their commands isn’t exclusive to policing in America. In the London area, an officer of the Metropolitan Police is accused of using force “which was not necessary, reasonable and proportionate” when he tased a 10-year-old Black girl twice in January 2021, according to BBC News.

It reportedly all started when PC Jonathan Broadhead and another officer were dispatched to the girl’s home after her mother reported that she had threatened her with garden shears and a hammer. Body camera footage reportedly shows Broadhead arrive at the scene at which point the girl picks up shears from the ground. Broadhead is seen running into the house shouting at the girl to put the shears down, but the girl walks away and heads upstairs instead. Within 10 seconds of the encounter, the officer responded by firing his taser at the girl twice.

According to Metro News, the girl’s mother reported that her daughter had eaten an “edible,” which affected her behavior, but she denied telling the police this before the girl was tased and arrested. It’s unclear if the mother was questioned about how her 10-year-old daughter she called the cops on had access to an edible, but that certainly should be a point of concern.

What’s also unclear, and arguably more concerning, is why the Crown Prosecution Service determined that Broadhead won’t face criminal charges despite the fact that he’s been accused of gross misconduct and could face termination.

From Metro News:

The officer admits tasering the girl but denies that it was unnecessary or unreasonable use of force.

His representative told the panel hearing the woman told 999 she was ‘frightened’ and unable to reason with her daughter after taking her phone from her.

Olivia Checa-Dover, from the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), said: ‘The officer accepts the factual elements. The issue is not whether this happened, but whether it was consistent with the high standards that apply to all police officers.

Here’s the thing: There has to be a better way for trained police officers to handle children this young, small and underdeveloped without resorting to excessive uses of force. This girl may have had shears in her hands, but she was moving away from the officer, who decided within seconds of the encounter that he had no other choice but to tase her twice rather than allow even the slightest risk of his own injury. If we have to keep hearing about how “brave” these police officers are and how “dangerous” their jobs are, the least they can do is show they’re not so afraid of a pre-teen Black child who’s running away from them that they had to respond with violence.


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