INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 24, 2014) -- Officers arrested a 9-year-old girl for battery after her mother called police to report her hitting her younger sister.
It happened over the weekend on the south side. In a report filed by the arresting officer, the mother "stated that her 9-year-old daughter punched her 6-year-old sister in the head."
Her mother even filmed the incident on her cell phone, showing it to police on scene.
"The officer made the decision to arrest," Ofc. Rafael Diaz from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
Diaz said it's unfortunate and no officer ever wants to arrest a child, but it's not unusual.
"It happens. It seems like we spend a lot of our time dealing with juvenile issues," Diaz said.
That's where community outreach and outside groups come in, Diaz said. IMPD, for instance, has been presenting a game called "Juvenile Justice Jeopardy" to kids in Warren Township schools, including elementary schools. Diaz said that program, focused largely on common juvenile crimes and consequences, has been successful so far.
At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, Executive Director Rick Whitten and his staff also see the importance of getting to kids at young ages.
"We know that the younger kids get involved in the juvenile justice system, the more likely they are to keep getting involved with the system," Whitten said.
Programs there include conflict management, in addition to offering a place for kids to simply work together and be kids.
"Kids want to belong to something and if they don’t belong to a club like this, they’re going to probably find something less healthy to belong to," Whitten said.
In the case of the young girl, a report indicated she was taken by Sheriff's Department wagon to juvenile detention, where Diaz said a decision on how to proceed would be made and her parents would be able to access services for help.