The killing by police of a 12-year old boy Tamir Rice who had been reported on a 911 call as waving around a toy gun has caused a major controversy in Cleveland, coming so soon after the events in Ferguson. You can see the video of the events leading up to the shooting here.
What happened was that the boy had a toy gun that he was waving around on the sidewalk near a small park that had a gazebo in which another person was sitting. That person made a 911 call and told the despatcher what he saw and said that he suspected that the gun was fake. The person left the gazebo and Rice was left alone in it. The despatcher told the police but did not report the possibility of the gun being a fake. The police drove right up to the boy and he was shot at close range almost immediately after their arrival.
Questions are being raised as to why, if they thought he was armed, they drove up so close to him and shot so quickly. Recall the case where an adult man was waving an assault rifle on the sidewalk near a strip mall and shouting threats against the police. In that case, police shut down the street, kept their distance, and talked him into laying down his weapon. I speculated at that time of how differently the police might have reacted and how ugly things could have turned out if it had been a black (and young) man involved. Now we know.
What has caused even further outrage is an article in the Plain Dealer that said that the boy’s father had a history of domestic violence. Read the comments to the article as people wonder what purpose this article served other than to somehow taint the boy. After all, what has the boy’s father’s history got to do with this event since he was nowhere near the scene?