Topeka police conclude review looking at use of force with 14-year-old

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – An internal investigation by the Topeka Police Department into the use of force against a 14-year-old is completed, the city announced Tuesday.

According to Molly Hadfield, Director of Media Relations with the City of Topeka, an independent police auditor said the force utilized by the officer was within the policy parameters of the Topeka Police Department.

However, the Independent Police Auditor expressed concern regarding the encounter with the juvenile and the officer’s judgment therein.

Topeka Police Policies

The use of force stems from an incident between a 14-year-old male and a Topeka police officer.

After pictures of the arrest circulated on social media the Topeka Police Department released a statement on Sept. 21 on their Facebook page following requests from community members for more information about the arrest.

The 16-page report outlines the entire incident and the legal precedent for use of force, however the report recommended the officer complete a refresher in de-escalation training and use of verbal communication when interacting with citizens.

The independent police auditor further recommended the decision to detain, and handcuff, in this particular case, receive a closer review and analysis by command staff.

You can read the full review below.

Community Advocate Ariane Davis provided KSNT News statements from her and Attorney LaRonna Lassitter Saunders, as well as the mother of the 14-year-old, Marlena Mitchiner.

“I am relieved to find that the IPA found that de-escalation training and an internal review on the detention is in good interest.

I cannot say it enough times, the way that we approach, act and react to a person is so incredibly important and can 100% direct how an interaction goes. When one is an officer of the law, this applies to them even more, one must be held to the highest of standards and further situations like this can be prevented.

I am very hopeful that we will see more training for our officers in the future, just as I requested from the mayor and city council.”

Marlena Mitchiner, mother

Davis and Saunders said the following:

“Though this is good first step in seeking justice for Isaiah, we want to be clear that we intend to pursue this matter until complete accountability has been received. What accountability looks like; additional de-escalation and sensitivity training for officers on a proactive approach.  We must build trust between our officers and the community.  We expect our police officers  to respect and have the ability to interact with all people.   We will continue to hold anyone who falls short of the standard, accountable.  We challenge the citizens of Topeka, city officials and the police department to do the same.

Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before a similar situation shows up on your doorstep and affects you or someone you care about.”

Attorney LaRonna Lassitter Saunders and Community Advocate Ariane Davis

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