An eight-year-old girl’s life was taken over the weekend after a shooting that happened at a teen’s birthday party in Akron, Ohio.
According to reports, the party was located in a backyard when “all h*ll broke out” after a shooting occurred shortly before midnight on Friday.
Authorities say eight-year-old Mikayla Pickett was shot in the back by a bullet and later passed away from her injuries after being taken to Akron Children’s Hospital.
62-year-old Willie Walker was hosting the backyard party for his 15-year-old grandson in Sherbondy Hill, Akron.
Walker, who has lived at the property for 32 years, told the Beacon Journal: “All hell broke out,” he said. “I don’t know what the hell happened.”
According to him, three or four people showed up to the party and began firing guns. He said he did not personally know Mikayla.
The reason why Brittney’s SUV was stopped was that it had the same number as that of a stolen motorcycle. However, if the officers had checked the states from where the license plates were issued, they would have found that the stolen motorcycle had Montana license plates while Brittney’s were Colorado license plates.
After Brittney’s car was mistakenly stopped by the police, she and the girls followed the orders that the cops gave them. Brittney asked the officers, over and over again, to check her license and registrations. However, the officers who were at least five in number, refused to do so and they even put handcuffs on the 12 and 17-year-old girls.
“I felt rage,” Brittney said about helplessly watching the girls lie being made to lie on the ground for no fault of theirs. “I felt weak that I couldn’t protect my own kids from that happening to them. When you’re a parent, you have to answer every time your child calls, cries, gets a boo-boo. You have to be there to pick up the pieces all the time.
Not being able to pick up the pieces — with the officers dehumanizing them, putting them through that traumatic experience — it’s heartbreaking.”
Eventually, the police realized that they stopped the wrong vehicle but by then, the young girls were already given an experience they would find hard to forget.
Chief Vanessa Wilson of the Aurora Police Department reached out to the family and apologized for the incident that took place that day. “It was done wrong,” she said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Talking about the states of the license plates not being verified, Wilson added, “There was a mistake there. I would have expected that they should have followed training and verified that prior to the stop.”
She also said she wished that one of the officers would think, “Hmm, something’s wrong here — I’m not going to put this little kid on the ground.” But “unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Wilson said.
Brittney, who filed a complaint over the incident, said, “There’s no excuse why you didn’t handle it a different type of way. You could have even told them ‘step off to the side let me ask your mom or your auntie a few questions so we can get this cleared up.’ There was different ways to handle it,” as quoted by The Denver Post.
The mother found it hard to accept the police department’s apologies and said, according to The Denver Post, “If it was a white family, it never would have happened.”
14-year-old Teriana Thomas, who is Brittney’s niece and also one among the girls who was made to lie on the ground said, “It’s like they don’t care. Who am I going to call when my life is in danger?” as reported by NBC News.
While speaking to CBS Denver, Brittney said, “I want change. Better protocol, better procedures because the way you did it yesterday was not it. Those kids are not okay. They’re never going to be okay. That was a traumatic experience. Would your kids be okay after that? Having a gun pulled on them and laid on the ground. Especially a 6-year-old,” according to CBS News.
Through her attorney, Brittney will be filing a federal lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department.