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AG's office investigating use of stun gun on Pierre girl

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota investigators are determining whether a Pierre police officer acted properly when he used a stun gun on an 8-year-old girl.

Police Chief Bob Grandpre said he and Hughes County State's Attorney Wendy Kloeppner asked for the outside review.

"I don't want to minimize this incident. I understand why it has received the attention it has and should have. It's got my attention," Grandpre said.

An officer arrived Oct. 4 at the girl's home, where a baby sitter was present, in response to a report of a suicidal girl, Grandpre said. She was holding a knife to her chest and refusing to drop it. At one point, she turned it toward the officer and then put it back to her chest, he said.

The officer was standing 5 or 6 feet away from the girl when the stun gun was deployed; the prongs hit her chest and stomach.

Grandpre said the girl recovered quickly, communicated with officers and was checked over at the scene by ambulance personnel. She eventually was taken to a hospital and kept there for 24 hours before being released to her parents.

He said his department's initial review showed the three officers involved acted appropriately, but he wants an independent review by the South Dakota Attorney General's Office to give the public an unbiased report.

"I'd like to think they think they're getting nothing but the truth from me, but I also understand we don't want any appearance of bias in what we're saying here either," Grandpre said.

The girl's parents have said the officer should be disciplined for using excessive force and they haven't ruled out legal action.

The police chief declined to release the name of the officer who used the stun gun or the officer's personnel records, saying he does not release such information.

Personnel records and police investigatory reports are confidential under South Dakota law, according to the attorney general's office. Some information about police calls for service can be released, but that does not include the name of the officer involved.