- A Columbus, Ohio, police officer responded to a father’s concerns that his 11-year-old daughter was being solicited by an adult man, claiming the girl could be charged with sending explicit images. .
- In the video, one of the officers tells the father that his daughter could be charged with making or recording images of child sexual abuse, and the father becomes frustrated and slams the door in anger.
- Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant announced an investigation into the officers’ actions and possible crimes against the girl.
A Columbus police officer called to his home by a father concerned that his 11-year-old daughter was being solicited by an adult man repeatedly insisted the girl could be charged with sending explicit images of herself. did.
Body camera footage obtained by The Associated Press shows a Sept. 15 interaction between the father and two officers. The father was told by one of the officers that he could be charged with making or recording images of child sexual abuse, even though his daughter was the victim, so he angrily stormed the door. closed.
The parent posted a security video of the conversation to TikTok, sparking widespread criticism of the police response.
Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said in a statement late Tuesday that an investigation is underway into the officers’ actions and any crimes that may have been committed against the girl. The department also said it had contacted his father to apologize.
Police have not released the father’s name, and The Associated Press has not identified the alleged victim of sexual abuse or domestic violence. He did not immediately respond to phone messages and social media requests for comment from The Associated Press on Wednesday.
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what the officer said
Security video and audio from edited body camera footage show officers talking with the father outside the home just after midnight.
He told officers that his daughter was already asleep and that he hoped he could help talk to her about the seriousness of the situation. A female police officer immediately informed her that her daughter could be charged with creating sexually explicit material.
The father protested, claiming he was a child being manipulated by adults, according to a police report and a TikTok video of the father. When the officer asked if he was taking photos, his father ended the conversation.
In audio from the body camera footage, the female officer can be heard again claiming, “She’s taking naked pictures of herself. She’s making child pornography,” as she leaves the house.
In a preliminary incident report, the officer cited “pandering of sexually oriented material involving minors” for the creation or production of material as possible charges under investigation. It cites a section of Ohio law that prohibits the creation, recording, or publication of sexual abuse. material. Another part of the law not cited prohibits knowingly soliciting, receiving, purchasing, or possessing such materials.
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In a statement Tuesday, the police chief reiterated that the 11-year-old boy was the victim of a crime. She said her officers’ actions did not meet her expectations to “treat all crime victims with compassion, courtesy and dignity.”
What the record shows
The Associated Press also obtained audio of the father’s police call and a dispatch log containing the call from responding officers.
According to dispatch records, around 6:50 p.m. on September 14, the father called 911 and was told that a female police officer would be dispatched. At around 7:50 p.m. she called again and she said it was taking too long to respond. Officers showed up at the family’s home more than five hours later, just after midnight on September 15th.
Video footage shows the father informing officers that his daughter was asleep and saying he didn’t know what they could do.
The officers are identified in the police report as Kelsey Schneider and Brian Weiner. The number listed for Schneider went straight to voicemail. Weiner answered the phone but asked reporters not to contact him.
Officers’ notes in the recording and incident report say the father was “easily angered” and responsible for ending the conversation before discussing potential consequences.
Despite the police chief’s statement mentioning a child as the victim, Columbus police did not respond to questions about whether she might face further charges.
A police spokesperson also would not say whether any other children in Columbus have been charged under Ohio child sexual abuse law. It is unclear whether the department has a policy of charging minors with such crimes.
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Police said the officers’ actions were reported to the Office of the Inspector General and are currently under investigation.
One of the responding officers contacted sexual assault unit detectives due to the “seriousness of the crime and lack of cooperation,” and was advised to “complete various incident reports,” the incident report states. did. It is unclear why staff in the Sexual Assault Unit or Child Exploitation Unit did not respond to the report, or why there was such a delay in responding. ___
Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.