Honestie Hodges, who was 11 when she was handcuffed at gunpoint by police in 2017, has reportedly died from the novel coronavirus after becoming ill on her birthday. A video of Hodges went viral after the incident in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Hodges fell violently ill with stomach pain on Nov. 9 and died on Sunday, the New York Times obituary said on Tuesday. She was 14 years old.
According to a GoFundMe fundraiser organized by her grandmother, Hodges was taken to the hospital after she fell sick and tested positive for COVID-19. She was sent home. Her symptoms worsened by the evening, and she was taken to the ICU. She then underwent an iron transfusion and was put on a ventilator.
On Nov. 21, an update on the fundraiser said Hodges was “dealing with issues associated with her brain.” On Sunday, her grandmother announced her death on the page.
In December 2017, a group of Grand Rapids officers targeted Hodges after she left her home with her mother and a family member, according to the Times. The officers drew their guns at the family and ordered Hodges to walk toward them with her hands up.
When her mother tried to intervene and said she was just 11, an officer told her to “stop yelling.”
Another officer put Hodges in handcuffs, pulling her arms behind her back as she pleaded with the officers to stop. Within two minutes, police removed her cuffs. They held her in a police car without cuffs for 10 minutes before letting her go.
At that time, Hodges said it made her “feel like I did something wrong” and that she was scared to go out the back door of their home after the altercation.
The incident went viral. Chief officer David Rahinsky said that listening to her scream made his “stomach turn." None of the officers involved faced any consequences for the incident.
On Nov. 13, less than 10 days before her death, Hodges’ grandmother started the GoFundMe as doctors considered a surgery due to liquid gathering in her stomach. Hodges’ mother quit her job as a nurse aide at the local nursing home to be with her daughter full-time.
The fundraiser has a $100,000 goal and has raised more than $62,000, many of the donations coming in just in the past two days since news broke of Hodges' death. On Twitter, people shared condolences—and rage—about her journey.
“America failed this girl. Her name was Honestie Hodges,” wrote filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
“I cannot stop thinking about Honestie Hodges. Violently restrained, detained, traumatized at age 11 by Grand Rapids PD and dead from COVID-19 by 14, whose mom had to seek financial help to be by her side as she fought to live, in a state being contested by this administration,” Kirsten West Savali, executive producer of Essence, tweeted.
Many were outraged that Hodges became a victim to the coronavirus pandemic and the healthcare system that takes the health of Black girls less seriously. According to recent reports, Black and Hispanic children are eight times more likely than white children to require hospitalization for COVID-related risks.
“She was sent home after testing positive for COVID. Her health began to deteriorate immediately thereafter, only for her to return via ambulance because she was so ill. The health care system failed Honestie,” tweeted healthcare policy expert Jamila Taylor. “I’m so tired of this.”
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H/T the Root