Columbus police chief apologizes after a viral video showed officers blaming an 11-year-old girl for being groomed

A police officer from behind.
A police officer (stock photo).Juanmonino/Getty Images
  • The chief of police in Columbus, Ohio, apologized to a father for the conduct of an officer.

  • A video seemed to show officers blaming his 11-year-old girl for being groomed.

  • Chief Elaine R. Bryant said they were "investigating" the incident, and the officers' actions.

The chief of police in Columbus, Ohio, apologized to a father who posted a video showing two officers blaming his 11-year-old daughter for being groomed after he called to report it.

The department announced an investigation into its response after the man shared a doorbell-cam video of the interaction.

The father said he called the police because the girl was manipulated into sending explicit images of herself to an adult man. The video showed one officer warning that the girl could be charged and punished for creating "child porn."

Chief Elaine R. Bryant said in a statement posted on Tuesday night that the Columbus Division of Police was "investigating" its officers' conduct.

"My expectation is that our officers treat every victim of crime with compassion, decency, and dignity," she said. "What I saw in that video did not reflect that."

She said the the case had been referred to the department's Inspector General.

"I want to make clear — this incident does not reflect the Division as a whole," she continued. "Our officers do outstanding work to bring comfort and justice to victims every day.

"As soon as we learned of this incident, we immediately reached out to the father to apologize, and to assure him that this matter was being fully investigated — both the actions of this officer, and more importantly, any crime committed against his child."

Insider knows the name of the girl's father, but is not sharing it since he has identified his daughter as the victim of a sex crime.

He posted the video of his encounter on Facebook Friday, and again on Monday to TikTok, where it quickly began to spread. It has amassed over 700,000 views, but TikTokers with larger followings re-sharing it have reached millions.

The TikTok post said the daughter had been "a victim" of an "online predator" who was "a grown man."

"He manipulated her into sending pictures of herself," he wrote as the caption of the video.

The video captures a short conversation between the man and one of two officers that arrived. The officer seemed dismissive of him, and immediately jumped to telling him what his minor daughter could be charged with.

"I mean, she can probably get charged with child porn," she informed him.

"Who, she can?" the dad responds. "She's 11 years old."

"Doesn't matter," the female officer insists. "She's still making porn."

Advocates generally object to the term "child porn," arguing that it creates a false association with the pornography created by consenting adults. They generally refer to explicit imagery of children as child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The Columbus Division of Police released a statement shortly after the video gained attention on the internet, describing the inspector-general investigation. Bryant added her more forceful statement later. The department has not named the officers in the video.

Bryant concluded her statement by saying: "As I have said from the first day on the job — when our officers do the right thing, we will have their back. When they don't, we will hold them accountable."

Read the original article on Insider