So, unfortunately, cops could not leave well enough alone. One would think they crippled the thought of “liberty and justice for all” enough in recent months given the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the lack of indictment for their killers. However, they could not stay out of the media and had to go and kill yet another black male extrajudicially. This time, their victim was a child. A 12-year-old Cleveland, Ohio native by the name of Tamir Rice.
Tamir Rice was in a park, playing with an airsoft toy gun. For those who think that sounds dangerous, it isn’t. Airsoft guns are actually safer than paintball guns and are regarded as toys. A citizen called into the police station saying there is a black man (mind you, the kid is 12) waving a gun around scaring people. He stressed that the gun is probably fake. Yet, cops drive up, directly in front of the child, completely forgoing protocol and proper training, Then, within 1.5 seconds of getting out of the car they shoot 12-year-old Tamir Rice dead on the playground. The video footage can be seen here (WARNING: Disturbing footage).
When delving into a potentially dangerous situation, what kind of officer would drive up to a suspect and then get out of the car shooting them dead. First off, cops have megaphones on their cars. They could have told the child to freeze or put his hands up, at the very least, from a distance. Speaking of distance, only a complete imbecile would not think to park further away from potential danger in order to remained protected, just in case, while investigating the situation. Lastly, within 1.5 seconds they shoot the child. Didn’t say freeze, didn’t taser, didn’t pepper spray, didn’t try to talk to him, didn’t do anything. No, nowadays cops’ first reactions are to shot first. Forget that whole “serve and protect” oath.
The disturbing thing is, we see how corrupt the cops are in this instance. Before the video footage was released from a nearby security camera in a store front, the officers on the scene put in their report that they told Rice 3 times to freeze. They furthered that he did not comply and began to take the “weapon” out of his waistband and that is when they shot him. However, as we see from the video. Unless the officers are the fastest talking people in the world, telling him to freeze 3 times, or even once, in the span of 2 seconds…doesn’t exactly seem possible.
Now, I can talk about the media’s horrible portrayal of the black victim, as they do all black victims (for more go to Black Victims vs. White Suspects/Killers). I could talk about how the media and people have constantly try to age this child, calling him a man and a young man. Which actually goes perfectly with recent research which shows that all children are seen as equally innocent…until 9, that’s when society starts viewing black children as both older and less innocent. Yes, you read that right, 10 year old kids! The American Psychological Association’s report on it can be viewed here.
However, I’m not going to go into any of those things. Not now at least, my heart is too heavy. I will point out that the cop involved in the shooting death of this unarmed black child, was deemed unfit by his previous police department. They stated, “time, nor training, will be able to change or correct [his] deficiencies.” However, once getting word of this he steps down immediately so he can still have a chance of getting a job at another police force. Which inevitably happened, and the Cleveland Police Department is so incompetent that they did not, or perhaps ignored, this on his record and/or chose to not even contact his previous employer. The consequence? He shoots and kills a 12-year-old kid within 2 seconds of arriving on a playground. Do better. Our blood and the lives of our children depend on it. I do not apologize for my blackness or your fear. Black lives matter, they may not have always mattered in the United States or in the Caribbean or in Latin America or in colonial Africa. But I am here to tell you all that black lives matter, and they always have.