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. Here is a list of laws governing when a child may be legally left home alone. Please note that in KS, the age is 6. National SAFEKIDS recommends 12, but determined by individual maturity level.

    Hopefully, a parent would leave a child home alone because of a rational judgement on capacity, and not for convenience.

    http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

    I’m doing my best to teach my child he can do anything he puts his mind to. At 4, he can drive our team of draft horses, each weighing 2,500 lbs, in a straight line (with Daddy next to him, sitting on the end of the reins.) He knows his full name, my phone #, and how to call 911. He knows what to do if he ever (God forbid) gets lost. He (usually) holds doors open for ladies and the elderly.

    I want very much for him to grow up with a confident, can-do, responsible attitude, while keeping him within safe guidelines. Since he’s my only child, he’s also my experimental child, poor guy. 🙂

  2. I wonder if the phone call to police took a while. Because as DBQ pointed out, the wife was not sure if the husband was at home, so she told the police to go check. So the police should have been aware that he MIGHT have been home, with the kids. I wondered why she didn’t burn rubber calling her husband immediately, but perhaps she was still on the phone when officers arrived.

    My brother has had police respond to an accidental alarm event, and nothing like this ever happened.

    False alarms happen every day without kids being held at gun point. Was this a training issue? Officer issue? Did dispatch fail to communicate to police that family might be home?

    There appears to be a real breakdown here. In addition to disciplining the officers involved, if this is true, there needs to be an investigation into protocol.

  3. “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.”

    Here’s my question – why wasn’t he fired the first time it was proven he falsified a police report? Was he protected by his union?

    What’s been pointed out in previous threads is that inappropriate use of no-knock warrants could lead to accidental shootings. If someone exploded inside my door, I would probably instinctively fight for my life before I was able to process what was happening.

    We need to investigate what happened, and there need to be consequences if this is true.

    Once a police officer is caught falsifying a police report, his testimony would be worthless in court forever.

    DBQ – I’m reading a great book right now, “Permission to Parent” which remarks that helicopter parenting leads with anxiety. It’s far different from present and responsive, calm parenting.

  4. DBQ, Having had a home office for over 30 years, this was the scenario many times w/ my 2 kids.

  5. Dust bunny – I agree 100%.
    On another thought that Pogo mentioned, perhaps we should give weekly awards to the police that didn’t shoot and kill an innocent person. Instead of incentivizing kills, incentivize non kills.

  6. How many 20+ somethings cannot be trusted at home alone or on the streets? We only hear about the bad things that happen; how many children are taught responsible behavior and are self-reliant enough to function without a parent or guardian around?

  7. The child wasn’t at home alone. The father was working in his home office and tending to their toddler while the daughter was watching television. This information is in the article, if you had bothered to read it at the link.

    However……11 years old is perfectly fine to be home alone. It does depend on the kid though. I was a latch key kid in the late 50’s early 60’s (I’m old….ok>?) and was responsible for taking care of my brother as well for those few hours between my parents’ work shifts.

    At 11 my daughter was the preferred babysitter in our small town. The younger kids loved her. She played with them. The parents loved her too as she was responsible and didn’t leave the place a mess. Of course, I was home at night and available by phone if there were any emergencies…..which there were not.

    As I said. It depends on the kid AND the parenting. If you raise your child to be responsible and trustworthy and expect good behaviour and do NOT tolerate bad behaviour, an 11 year old can be left alone.

    This constant supervision, helicopter parenting is the reason that our young people today are so very messed up and unable to cope with real life outside of the parental cocoon.

  8. My father died when I was 11 and I was often left at home baby-sitting my 5 siblings. I think the kid was not left home alone though, but had come home which is why the mother thought someone had broken in when the alarm was disabled and thus the police sent.

  9. Pogo, That was a great quote on lying in our culture. I think it is in large part because of the lawyerization of this nation. Then there is Bubba. Cops are high up on the list. They lie to protect themselves and their fellow officers, and they lie to convict bad guys; who sometimes, while indeed bad guys, are not good for the crime.

  10. Bailers,

    Pleas read the following:

    http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm

    I use to work for the Missouri Division of Social Services, and have seen many cases where leaving children under the age of 13 (i wouldnt even recommend leaving a 14-16 year old home alone, if you value your home and\or understood your child’s behavior at this age range) home alone have caused numerous problems, including death.

  11. I would think that they omitted basic facts about the incident in their official reports would warrant them being fired.

    ———-
    RWL
    Questions: Why was the child home by herself at only eleven years old? Isn’t that against the law?
    ——————

    An eleven year old is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves at home. 11 years old means 6th grader. They don’t need constant supervision. Except when police officers storm the house home invasion style.

  12. “More than anything, events like these are a helpful reminder as to why many of us support smaller and explicitly limited government. Given the choice between more freedoms and liberties, or empowering a bunch of armor-clad incompetent murderers, it is a wonder anyone would ever pick the latter. A free people does not deserve to be governed by thugs and gun-toting lunatics.”

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/02/03/the-police-no-longer-work-for-you/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=032b5b3ad4-RSS_DAILY_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-032b5b3ad4-79248369

  13. Questions: Why are parents constantly forgetting about their children? Did the mom call home to see if it was her child? Does the child have a cellphone? Why didn’t the child call mom? Why was the child home by herself at only eleven years old? Isn’t that against the law? There are so many parents constantly worrying about maintaining a certain standard of living that they are forgetting about their children’s safety and well-being.

    On the other hand, someone needs to be fired or sent back to the academy.

  14. “Notably, each time he was found to have filed false police reports.”

    As Lisa Schiffren recently observed:

    “Perhaps the reason the football deflation scandal resonates, aside from the usual distraction from more serious matters, is that it reinforces the pervasive sense that this is a totally corrupt moment in our culture, in which everything is corrupt. EVERYTHING is CORRUPT. Nothing is honest. Politicians lie with impunity. The media lies. Polticians steal and skim and it’s a big deal when someone prosecutes. Schools teach made up versions of history to placate minorities. Publishers change maps to placate clients. Directors change historic reality for a better story. The narrative is more important than the facts. If you don’t like your sex, call yourself the other one, and everyone will pretend it’s the case. So someone took a little air out of a pigskin, to win at a competitive sport…That is the very least of the corruption in which we live. But dismaying because … what’s left?”

  15. Police are afraid of children. Police are afraid of dogs. Police are just afraid. Afraid of the truth, so afraid that they lie repeatedly. Police who lie in reports should be fired and prosecuted.

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