10-28-2016  12:40 pm      •     

Portland police last week handcuffed and arrested a 12-year-old girl in the office of Beaumont Middle School -- two weeks after an alleged fight between her and another student.

Police said the other student’s family filed charges of misdemeanor assault against the child, which were referred by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and they were forced to arrest her.

The unidentified child was taken to the Donald E. Long Home, the county’s only juvenile detention center.

Multnomah County is currently facing scrutiny for recent use-of-force statistics showing Black inmates in county facilities are far more likely to face violence from sheriff's’ deputies, especially when they are first booked into a correctional facility.

Neither the child arrested last week nor her family has been publicly identified and the family’s race has not been disclosed.

The incident is reminiscent of the last time the police arrested a child. In that case an African American nine-year-old was arrested on her porch in her bathing suit almost a week after an alleged conflict she had with another student at an after school program.

The story was first reported by the Portland Mercury.

"They put the handcuffs on her," the girl's mother, Latoya Harris, told the Mercury. "And everybody saw my daughter get perp-walked to the car. What stood out was the expression on my daughter's face. The fear and the sadness. We still have to see these officers in our community."

The outcry after that incident forced Portland Police officials to create a policy that they would only arrest  children age 12 or older – like the child they arrested last week.

Police say that now they only arrest children aged 12 years and older if they get “special permission” which can only come from the  Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and a judge.

In the current case, spokesperson Pete Simpson told a reporter the girl lashed out physically as officers were trying to handcuff her. Simpson told The Oregonian, "For lack of a better term, she chose to have a tantrum."

Simpson told the newspaper that "mom was very much like her daughter," as officers prepared to drive the daughter to the detention center.

Portland police and Portland public schools officials have arrested, shot or tasered several children and teenagers over the past 15 years. The circumstances vary widely.


Kids Arrested, Shot or Tasered by Portland Police

  • March 16, 2016 - High school student is arrested after threatening to bring a gun to school, is charged with attempted assault and attempted unlawful use of a weapon.
  • March 1, 2016 - Portland Parent Union creates Change.org petition on behalf of a Black female student charged by Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office with “offensive physical contact” after punching a blonde, affluent student who racially bullied her at Lake Oswego High School.
  • September 15, 2014 - Unarmed Roosevelt High School student, Thai Gurule, is viciously beaten, Tasered and arrested on cellphone video. A circuit court judge later finds him innocent of resisting arrest, chastises police bureau.
  • May, 2013 - Nine-year-old girl arrested over alleged fight at after-school program six days earlier.
  • May 17, 2011 - Student arrested after threatening to bring a gun to school.
  • October 4, 2004 - Portland Police Taser an 11-year old student in a mental health crisis at Buckman Elementary School.

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