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Honestie Hodges, handcuffed by police at 11, dies of COVID-19: family

DETROIT, Mich. — A Michigan girl who was the center of a police controversy after being placed in handcuffs by officers when she was 11 years old has died of COVID-19 complications, her family said online Sunday. 

Honestie Hodges, 14, tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 9 and was rushed to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital later that day, according to an online fundraising page set up by the girl’s grandmother, Alisa Niemeyer.  

Niemeyer posted an update Sunday to the fundraiser, writing, “It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have to tell all of you that my beautiful, sassy, smart loving Granddaughter has gone home to be with Jesus.”

A spokesperson for Spectrum Health System, which includes Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, said Honestie’s condition was listed as critical Sunday morning. 

A Grand Rapids police officer placed Honestie in handcuffs in December 2017 as police searched for one of her aunts suspected in a stabbing. Body camera footage shows Honestie crying and pleading with the officer not to cuff her.  

The incident sparked demands for justice. The Grand Rapids Police Department found that the officers involved did not violate department policy, however, Police Chief David Rahinsky said footage from the incident left him “nauseated.” The department later adopted a youth interaction policy called the “Honestie Policy.”


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