A Portland mother will speak to the Citizen Review Committee on Wednesday to share the story of her 9-year-old daughter’s arrest in 2013.
The committee is a volunteer panel of residents charged with improving police accountability.
The Portland Mercury reports North Portland resident Latoya Harris first spoke to the panel in April to question police conduct in handcuffing her daughter before taking her in to be photographed and fingerprinted.
The committee members will also consider on Wednesday if the police should adopt guidelines for taking children into custody.
The 9-year-old girl got in to a fight at the Boys and Girls’ Club in New Columbia, which resulted in her throwing a few punches before the staff broke it up, according to the Mercury. The girl was suspended from the club and Harris said that she punished her daughter for the fight as well.
However, the mother of another girl involved called Portland police to report the fight, accusing Harris’ daughter of hitting her child’s face against a brick wall. She wanted an arrest made.
So, as the paper reports, police showed up at Harris’ home on May 2, 2013 to question the girl, but when they found her statement “inconsistent” with witnesses, she was put in handcuffs and hauled off while wearing a bathing suit. She was photographed and fingerprinted, though the District Attorney’s Office never filed charges.
A year later, Harris’ daughter is in counseling and has changed schools. Harris told the Mercury that the experience traumatized the child.
“I didn’t get the same girl back,” Harris said.
Harris plans to sue the local police department over the arrest, according to KOIN.
Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told the Oregonian that officers use handcuffs as a “safeguard” and acted according to policy in the incident.