The clip shows three white male officers looking for a suspect connected to a stolen car and firearms, demanding the girl open the door while banging on it and the windows of the family’s house.
“Listen. We’re gonna kick the door down, and we don’t wanna do that,” an officer said in the video, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The child, dressed in red and black pajamas, eventually followed the officers’ demands and opened the door.
“I’m a baby,” she said while opening the door.
An officer replied, “You’re not a baby if you’re not listening.”
Meanwhile, another officer continued to bark out instructions.
“Come outside right now. You don’t get to go and hide and turn off the lights. That’s not how this works,” the officer shouted.
One of the officers handcuffed the crying child while the rest of them continued to search the house.
“I’m scared, I’m scared, Mommy,” the terrified girl said. “I’m scared I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.”
Police Chief Kathy Lester said officers were looking for “a known gang member who was on probation.”
“Upon announcing themselves, they saw people inside, but no one would answer the door,” Lester said in a statement revealed in an audit report, KCRA reported. “Officers saw a person running through the house turning off the lights. That person came to the door and was immediately detained. The officer asked how old they were, realized the person was only 10 and immediately unhandcuffed them. The duration was appx 30 seconds.”
The Office of Public Safety Accountability audit report states the girl stayed with her bedridden grandmother during the raid. Meanwhile, the child’s mother was at work, five minutes from their home.
City Inspector General Dwight White was outraged when he watched video footage of the raid during a Sacramento City Council meeting.
“She should’ve never been handcuffed in the first place,” White told the council, per The Bee. “If this girl was a different race, she would not have likely been handcuffed by these officers.”
Lester also condemned the officers’ actions.
“We are certainly aware of the trauma and the impacts that something like that, an interaction with police, can have on our community. I can assure you that we will conduct outreach to the family and see what we can do to make it better,” Lester said, according to KCRA. “There is no circumstance where it’s OK to handcuff a 10-year-old, regardless of race.”
The audit report noted several other complaints against Sacramento police, including allegations of improper search and seizure.
“Law enforcement has lost credibility and has trust issues in our community,” Lester said, according to The Bee. “We have great people in this organization, we’re a big organization. Sometimes we make mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to have a layer of accountability … It serves a very important purpose because we have got to continue to build community trust and without some independent help we are not able to do that.”
The child’s mother submitted a formal complaint to the department. However, the department dismissed it.
“She advised that her child is now afraid of the police,” Office of Public Safety Accountability director LaTesha Watson said, according to The Bee. “That’s something I don’t want … this is not what we should be doing.”