The tragic death of a young boy at the hands of police officers has many people asking difficult questions. One of those people is the boy's father, who wants to know why police did not use a taser on his son instead of a gun.
Last Saturday, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing with an airsoft gun at a playground in Cleveland, Ohio when he was gunned down by local police.
A 9-1-1 caller repeatedly told dispatchers that the weapon was “probably fake,” but police were sent to the swing set where Tamir was playing. Officers ordered Tamir to raise his hands and, did not comply, and instead he took the toy gun out of his waistband. At that point the police officers opened fire. The boy was shot in the stomach and died in the hospital a day later.
Tamir never pointed his toy at the officers, nor did he make verbal threats.
One of the people asking questions in the wake of this violence is Tamir’s father, Gregory Henderson. “Why not [taser] him? You shot him twice, not once, and at the end of the day you all don’t shoot for the legs, you shoot for the upper body,” he said. “[Tamir] had his whole life ahead. To be 12 years old, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
A Cleveland Police Department spokesperson said that the orange indicator on the airsoft gun had been broken off and that the toy resembled a semi-automatic pistol.
Cleveland deputy police chief Ed Tomba described the incident as “very, very tragic,” and added “when an officer gives a command, we expect it to be followed…The way it looks like right now, it wasn’t followed, but we’re going to continue our investigation.”
Ohio is an open-carry state, meaning it’s legal for anyone to openly display a real firearm.The two officers responsible for the shooting, one a rookie the other a 13-year veteran, have been placed on administrative leave.