Two Groveland police officers were called to a home in Florida where a burglar alarm had been set off.
Both officers with a history of disciplinary actions against them entered the house through a garage door, guns drawn, finding an 11-year-old girl sitting on her bed watching TV.
The response of Officers James Festa and John Rigdon?
One of the officers was pushing me down and when he was pushing me down, (he) put his knee on me and the other officer had his gun pointed at me,” the young girl told Channel 9.
The girl, who was traumatized according to her father, was completely blindsided by the police attack after the burglar alarm was set off by mistake and failed to alert anyone in the house that the police were on their way.
The Groveland police are now investigating into possible use of excessive force, but according to the service records of the officers involved, the police force should have known they were a potential ticking time bomb.
Officers Festa and Rigdon have been with the department for three years, and both have been disciplined several times, according to their personnel files. Festa was reprimanded in December for his “carelessness” in a child abuse investigation, and Rigdon was suspended in May for neglect of duty, demoted in 2013 from corporal and reprimanded in 2011, with each punishment the result of filing false police reports. Rigdon also misused a police database, the DAVID system, for personal use to access photos of his wife and her friend.
The girl’s father, Jean Guirand couldn’t imagine how the police officers would possibly think that she was a threat, and treat her that way in her own home.
Someone should get fired for doing something like this,” Guirand said. “The police officers came into her room while she was laying there watching TV, and they told her to get up, pushed her to the ground, put their knees behind her back and put her at gunpoint,”
Guirund wants Internal Affairs investigators to scrutinize Sunday’s police report, which contains nothing about his daughter’s
account. The report did not mention any interaction with the girl but stated that children were found upstairs.
The officers have not been suspended and are still working as police officers for the city of Groveland. Instead of allowing two walking liabilities to continue working as law enforcement officers, Groveland should learn from the mistake of Denver PD, which recently allowed an officer to continue working after committing an assault that later cost the city $225,000 in a settlement. Two days later, the same officer committed another vicious assault and battery, and Denver is now on the hook for another $860,000.