The police chief in Columbus, Ohio, is condemning an incident in which two officers told a father his 11-year-old daughter could face child porn charges for sending images to a man online.
Chief Elaine Bryant said as soon as the department learned of the incident, captured on doorbell camera video, it “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.”
Bryant added in a statement posted to X, “My expectation is that our officers treat every victim of crime with compassion, decency, and dignity. What I saw in that video did not reflect that – which is why we referred this case to the Inspector General.”
The video shows two Columbus officers arriving at Billy Blocka’s house early September 14. He said he called them because his daughter had reportedly been manipulated into sending photos of herself to a man online.
The officers, one female and one male, knock on the door before the father steps out to speak with them.
“I just want you guys to come over and talk to her and I want her to realize what this was,” he says. “Reality is, not much I can probably do about it, is there?”
The female officer then responds, “I mean, she can probably be charged with child porn.”
“Who? She can?” the father says in the video. “She’s 11 years old.”
“She’s creating it, right?” the female officer says.
The father repeats, “She’s 11 years old.”
“Doesn’t matter. She is still making porn,” the female officer responds.
The father dismisses the officers, telling them to have a nice evening and thanking them for coming before asking, “Are you serious?” He shuts his door and the two officers leave.
The father posted the video to Facebook on September 15.
Father expects investigators to meet with his daughter this week
“This was the first time in my life that I have ever called the cops,” Blocka told CNN on Wednesday, adding his mother was the one who advised him to call police because “this man could hurt other people.”
Blocka said he found inappropriate images and messages on his daughter’s phone after he grew suspicious that she was hiding something. He said his daughter was communicating with the man for about a month and that it started on Instagram but moved to Snapchat.
“She doesn’t understand what all is happening,” Blocka told CNN. “I don’t want my baby to go through this again. She needs to be safe.”
Blocka said the man online is still trying to get in touch with his daughter.
The police Special Victims Bureau is expected to meet with his daughter and go through the phone later this week, Blocka added.
Inspector general is investigating
Columbus Police said Monday the Department of the Inspector General opened an investigation into the incident involving the officers.
“The Division of Police regards all allegations of sexual misconduct with the utmost seriousness. Incidents involving minors are handled with the highest degree of concern. Sexual Assault Unit detectives were immediately notified of the incident and have since initiated an investigation,” the statement continues.
Columbus Inspector General Jacqueline Hendricks said the office is aware of the video being circulated and that she received several citizen complaints about it.
“The Columbus DIG takes each and every citizen complaint filed with our office seriously,” Hendricks told CNN in a statement Wednesday.
Bryant is promising accountability.
“I want to make clear – this incident does not reflect the Division as a whole. Our officers do outstanding work to bring comfort and justice to victims every day,” Bryant said in the statement on X.
“As I have said from my 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.”
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