There is a controversy over a police incident in Groveland, Florida this month where two officers are accused of using excessive force on an 11-year-old girl while responding to a burglary call at her home over the weekend. The officers then failed to put the incident in their report to the police department.
The family has accused the officers of going through the garage door and letting themselves into the house with guns drawn after the report of the burglary alarm. They say that they force the 11-year-old girl to the ground when they found her watching television. She said that an officer put a knee to her back and kept the gun pointing at her.
The father said that there was no knocking or announcement. That is a dangerous situation given the possibility that a home owner could mistake police as felons and use lethal force.
It turns out that the daughter had disabled the alarm earlier in the day and it was registered as a burglary. The security company notified Guirand’s wife, Lisa Pierre-Louis, at work and she agreed that the police should respond.
After the incident however Festa filed a report that said that he knocked on the door and rang the doorbell before entering the residence through a door inside the garage, which was open. He never mentions the incident with the girl or the children found upstairs.
The officers James Festa and John Rigdon have only been with the department for three years but have been repeatedly disciplined. Festa was previously reprimanded for botching a child abuse investigation and suspended in 2013 for sleeping on the job. Rigdon was suspended in May and demoted in 2013 from corporal. He was also reprimanded in 2011. Notably, each time he was found to have filed false police reports.