Florida Police Accused Of Drawing Guns On 11-Year-Old Girl and Throwing Her To The Ground In Burglary Call But Then Omitting Incident From Later Report

DocumentThere 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.

Source: WFTV

36 thoughts on “Florida Police Accused Of Drawing Guns On 11-Year-Old Girl and Throwing Her To The Ground In Burglary Call But Then Omitting Incident From Later Report”

  1. RWL,
    It’s not uncommon to leave an eleven year old alone at home after school. Hopefully they’re taught to be responsible. Many daycare services aren’t even available to these pre-teens. Actually, many 11 year olds are more cautious and responsible than their older teen siblings.

    I remember hitting the wrong button on the house alarm and the police came. Humans make mistakes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these parents aren’t after more than answers and explanations.

  2. Mary that’s a hateful statement to make, especially calling police officers pigs.

    I do think that these officers need to be terminated as police officers for all there past offenses. They obviously, don’t know how to follow policy or file a conclusive report.

    On the other hand, if I was an officer, I might do the same thing–after all, I don’t know if the burglars are children, teens, or adults. I don’t know if this child is planted there to detract from the others.

  3. Paul

    At 8, gambling debts. That reminds me of the ‘Great Comic Book Trades’ when I was that age. When traveling our family would stop in a restaurant or if we were on a ferry, and there was more often than not other kids with comic books. We got fleeced at first because we didn’t know that this or that Superman was worth at least three Blackhawks. Then we caught on and our library grew. Watching a kid go happily back to his car with fewer comics than he had before he met us, gave me a little thrill. Ah the fine line between good and evil.

  4. “Festa was … suspended in 2013 for sleeping on the job.”

    If only all these pigs would sleep on the job, we’d be hugely better off.

  5. Oxa,
    I never said there was a law. Read harder.

    Which is more of a threat to a child’s welfare : walking to school in the Wisconsin winter for 2 miles or being left home alone for a short time?

    The problem is that child welfare agencies are about anything but child welfare. I have zero respect for what they do or the methods they use. There are children in the inner cities that are lacking basic needs. Parent that cannot or will not provide meals. Comfort is not something they get at home, nor is safety and a sense of being loved. And they’re going to fret over two kids walking home from a park or being a latchkey kid?

    The State hasn’t completely criminalized parenting. And I can guarantee that I’d they came for my 11 year old kid, who I occasionally leave at home while I run to the store with the other ones, they’d need a SWAT team to get me out.

    1. RWL Bailers

      I live in Missouri and had to give up my Children because of laws like that. Does that make you feel good? I wasn’t there for 1 1/2 hour when they got home from school for the 2 oldest and the youngest was in preschool. still. There was no Latchkey yet. They are in their late 30s. No one in the family would step up and no one was available at all times. My ex husband served me with an expensive retainer.

      I still remember when the Sergeant came to the house with Family Services with a Gun. Very Impressive.

  6. RWL-

    “i wouldnt even recommend leaving a 14-16 year old home alone”

    well, if you lock your children in a cage that you take with you everywhere, you have the least chance of the child causing trouble. Would you recommend that?

    People have to grow up, and that means allowing opportunity for mistakes and errors in judgment. Of course, if you never allow a child any independence, it will be much safer. . .until you have an adult baby on your hands that has never had to exercise judgment and responsibility.

    1. Anachrist 2.0 – at age 8 I was traveling by train 600 miles by myself. Not like it is today where an adult takes you to boarding and another adult picks you up. I was put on the train and was responsible for all of my meals and gambling debts on the trip. I was picked up on the other end, usually after waiting an hour or so at the station.

  7. Guirand said he is not sure whether race played a role in how the two white officers treated his black daughter and himself but that he just wants some answers.

    “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.”

    Well, I would say that Bubba felt real fine pushing the little pickaninny around. Azzhole.

  8. wow, I hadn’t seen the newspaper write-up before. Dad is lucky he’s alive! being all brown and all. on the other hand, I am so not surprised at the “edited” incident report!

  9. Sorry, Bailers, but your understanding of the relevant Wisconsin law is lacking. No law forces children to walk to school. Some local school districts do not provide busing for students who live <2 miles from school. Local school districts are independent of the state.

  10. These two have no business being police officers. It’s guys like this that gives all police a bad name. Get them off the force before they do some real damage.

  11. RWL
    Pleas read the following:
    I use to work for the Missouri Division of Social Services,

    Then come to Wisconsin, where my local school district (the state) forces kids as young as first grade to walk up to two miles to school every day. Many of us were latchkey kids in elementary school. We survived.

    I have an 11 year old and have no problem with her being alone in the house for short periods of time. Your chart even bears out that for the states with legal age limits, the majority of them would allow an 11 year old to stay home alone.

    I don’t need permission from the nanny department to let my kid be a kid. When they can perform competently with the kids that actually need intervention, then they can possibly think about telling me how to raise mine.

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