An outraged mother is planning to file a lawsuit against police in Portland after her daughter was handcuffed and thrown into an adult jail. The incident occurred a year ago when cops showed up and arrested Latoya Harris' daughter, who was nine years old at the time.
Harris says her daughter was in a wet bathing suit when she was placed in handcuffs, put in a police car and taken to the precinct where she was held in a cell.
The arrest stemmed from a fight the week before involving Harris' daughter at a local Boys and Girls Club. The D.A. chose not to file any charges in the case.
Portland police have not commented on the matter.
More on this story from KOIN-TV.
She said her daughter was humiliated as she was marched before her friends to a police car and she’s had to change schools because of the incident.
“It was the fact that I couldn’t protect my daughter from the very people that are supposed to be protecting us, the shame and the fear on her face,” she said. “It hurts.”
Police won’t talk publicly about the arrest but said they don’t have firm age guidelines when it comes to arresting people. Handcuffs in the back of a patrol car is not only a matter of policy, they said, but a matter of safety for everyone in the car.
Juvenile public defender Joseph Hagedorn told KOIN 6 News he thinks police made a series of wrong decisions. It started with the arrest and ended with a 9-year-old girl in a jail cell.
“You have a 9-year-old, you have a safe home, you can make a referral to the juvenile department,” he said. “You have plenty of options at your fingertips as a police officer.”
Asked if there’s any reason to put a 9-year-old in a regular adult facility, he said, “I don’t think so.”
Harris said her daughter was a straight-A student and didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
“Just want to cry right now just thinking about it,” she said.
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