In Cleveland, Ohio, police and the Kuyahoga County Prosecutors Office are investigating a police shooting incident that killed a 12-year-old boy who was wielding a fake gun outside a recreation center.
Deputy Chief Ed Pomba says that one officer fired twice after the boy, Tamir Rice, pulled the fake weapon from his waistband. He never pointed it at police, he never made any verbal threat. Police say he simply retrieved the replica after being told to raise his hands.
The most troubling thing about this incident is that 911 dispatchers were repeatedly told that the gun was probably fake,
but somehow this information did not make its way to the responding police officers. Cleveland police released the 911 calls from late Saturday, in which a man stated: “There is guy with a pistol, it’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everyone.” The caller then repeats that he thinks the gun if fake, and adds that
“he’s probably a juvenile.”
This case serves as an example of the danger posed by trigger happy police, and should also be a warning about why it is so important to talk with your kids about fake weapons. This wasn’t the first child to die in such a manner, and he won’t be the last. Kids as young as early grade school have been killed after pointing everything from BB guns to water pistols, or plastic toy guns at police. One can see how this boy, having fun with an ill-fated prank, simply got scared when approached by police and wanted to show the officers that the gun was fake when he was shot.