14-Year-Old Michigan Girl Who Was Once Handcuffed at Gunpoint by Police Dies of COVID-19 Complications

Eufemia Didonato

gofundme Honestie Hodges

Honestie Hodges — a Michigan girl who was once handcuffed at gunpoint by police, sparking calls for reform and justice — has died from complications related to the novel coronavirus, according to her family.

The 14-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 9 and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids later that day, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by Hodges’ grandmother, Alisa Niemeyer, in support of the family.

“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,” Niemeyer said in an update on Sunday.

According to the grandmother, Hodges faced a series of complications during her hospitalization, including an elevated heart rate and “issues associated with her brain.”

gofundme Honestie Hodges

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Niemeyer also said that Hodges was on a ventilator and received a blood transfusion while at the hospital.

In December 2017, Hodges was at the center of a police controversy when she was handcuffed at gunpoint by Grand Rapid Police Department officers as they searched for a suspect in an alleged stabbing. Body cam footage of the incident showed Hodges — who was 11 at the time — crying as she pleaded with officers not to detain her, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Though Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said he felt “nauseated” watching the body camera video, the department later cleared the officers involved in the incident following an investigation, citing that they had not violated any policies, the Associated Press reported.

RELATED: Colo. Police Are Caught on Video Handcuffing Black Children at Gunpoint in Mistaken Traffic Stop

The incident and subsequent public outcry led to the development of the “Honestie policy,” a multi-step plan for how officers should interact with children.

Reflecting on the incident, Hodges’ mother, Rennae Wooten, told the Detroit Free Press in 2018, that if “it was somebody white, it probably would have been a little different.”

“She probably wouldn’t have been handcuffed. She is traumatized. She can’t sleep. She doesn’t even want to go to school,” she said of her daughter at the time.

“I want justice,” Wooten added. “My kids are messed up from this. They got my kids terrified. This is crazy.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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