Florida police officers let themselves into a Groveland home last week, then ran into a young girl’s bedroom, pointing guns at her and yelling at her to drop to the floor.
Jean Guirand, the girl’s father, is seeking justice after the cops responded to a burglar alarm by entering a side door to the property, making their way upstairs and into the child’s room without identifying themselves.
The officers, guns drawn, then pushed the girl to the ground and forcefully held her there with their knees in the back of her head, according to the child.
“I was very scared and didn’t know what to do,” the little girl told reporters with WFTV-TV.
“Someone should get fired for doing something like this,” Mr Guirand said.
It transpired that the alarm had been tripped and disabled earlier in the day and the cops made their way to the house after calling Mr Guirand’s wife at work and gaining permission.
The police report claims that the officers knocked on the door and rang the doorbell before entering the home via the garage. The report omits details of the encounter with the girl, only referring to the fact that the officers found children upstairs.
Mr Guirand told reporters that he was working in an office within the residence and encountered one of the cops pointing a gun at him when he came out to see what the commotion was about.
Mr Guirand filed a citizen’s complaint the same day, alleging excessive force, but Groveland police did not launch an internal investigation until after the local news station had called, days later, to seek comment on the incident.
The Groveland police chief says that the officers have not been suspended or placed on administrative leave during the investigation, but promised to “take appropriate action” once it is completed.
The two officers have previous disciplinary actions in their personnel files, according to reporters. Officer James Festa was reprimanded just last month for “carelessness” as he failed to recognise signs of child abuse in a case. He was also suspended in 2013 for sleeping on the job.
The other officer, John Rigdon has been previously suspended, demoted from corporal, and reprimanded over the past four years, each time for filing false police reports.
Mr Guirand says that his daughter has been traumatized and that the cops should have recognized photos of her in the room rather than manhandling the child at gunpoint.
“I just want to get justice for the young child,” he said. “When she talks about it she cries … she had to stay home from school one day because she woke up not feeling good and said that she was upset right now and afraid.”
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