There seems to be a great deal of confusion about what happened between Tamir Rice, a 12 year old who was playing in a park with a BB gun, and the police officer who killed him.
Take, for example, this:
Quite a few members of the "public at large" seem to be convinced that young Tamir Rice was brandishing a convincing pistol replica at the police. The police, after begging Rice to lay down his weapon multiple times, were forced to open fire when young Tamir made some sort of furtive movement toward his waist band, in which this make-believe pistol was ensconced.
While I find it quite troubling that so many of our fellow citizens find it reasonable to leap to the defense of today's police force immediately after they gun down a pre-pubescent child, perhaps in this instance the Public can be forgiven. After all, the narrative described above has largely been formed from police statements of what happened.
Here's the police version: A man calls 911, informing them that someone is brandishing a pistol in the park. We also know this man told 911 dispatchers that he believed the gun was fake. Police claim that they were not informed of this key detail - which, frankly, should be a controversy in and of itself. As we will see, though, its not the worst of what happened.
Shortly after the call, police responded on the scene. The police said the officer yelled at Tamir three times to show his hands, but the boy instead reached to his waistband for the object, which turned out to be a fake gun.
Its this last detail that is really the clincher. Based on the police description of events, their response was still tragic, but reasonable. Police told Tamir to raise his hands three times. The boy failed to respond, and instead reached for what the police had been told was a gun. They then killed him.
The issue is that the officer's description of events is, at worst, an outright lie and at best an intentionally misleading misrepresentation of events. Fortunately, the Tamir family was able to receive and make public a video of the park that completely captures the events. This video is below. I would encourage readers to watch the video; the shooting occurs begin at time code 7:00
As can be clearly seen in the video, police arrive on the scene by nearly bowling over Tamir Rice with their car. The officer on the right opens his car door and immediately opens fire. The New York Times has reported that the length of time that elapsed during this period is 2 seconds.
2 seconds is enough time to open a car door and shoot someone. 2 seconds is not long enough to order someone to raise their hands and for that person to respond to even one such warning. Particularly when the person responding is a 12 year old child who has nearly been struck by a car and is no doubt completely shocked and terrified about what is occurring. There is no way that police told Rice to raise his hands 3 times; 2 seconds is simply not enough time for that to occur.
It is my hope that those who currently support the police narrative of events watch this video. It is my hope that people will question why the police statement is completely irreconcilable with the events in this video. It is my hope that people will question why the image of a child with a toy pop gun is an event worthy of calling the police, when in the recent past such an image was as American as Apple Pie. Does the boy below strike you as being a legitimate threat to law enforcement?
The Justice system in the United States is broken. In our fear we have built a machine that destroys lives and devours children. We ought to pause, now, to consider what can be done to stop it.