A South Dakota police chief is sticking by an officer who used his Taser to stun an 8-year-old girl.
Pierre Police Chief Bob Grandpre said that officers were responding to a panicked Friday night call from a a baby-sitter who reported that the young girl she was watching had stabbed herself in the leg and was making comments about suicide. When the cops arrived on the scene, they discovered that the girl was holding a four-and-a-half inch knife.
The girl refused to put the knife down and pointed the blade at the officer who approached her, prompting him to use his Taser. The prongs from the device lodged in the girl’s chest and stomach, Grandpre said.
"We have a juvenile that's threatening to kill themselves, and we have very few options that they had to run through, so they made the decision to disarm the juvenile for the safety of all involved," he said. "Our initial review is it looks like we followed our department policy and training."
The girl was observed for a few hours and then released into the custody of her parents.
Grandpre said that the officer, whose name has not been released, may have saved the girl’s life, but her parents aren’t buying it and are considering suing the police department.
"How much harm could she have done?" asked girl's mother, Dawn Stenstrom.
Bobby Jones, the girl's father, added:
"Tasers are for grown adults, not 8-year-old girls. They say it was for her own safety, but there is no justification for that. Her acting out got her tased."