There is no escaping the tragedy. A 12-year-old is dead, shot by police outside a recreation area in Cleveland after they mistook his “airsoft”-type replica gun for an actual semi-automatic pistol, his gesture as an actual threat. But beyond the family’s grief, is there more to build on? Sadly, you can count on it.
First, there is the issue of guns, which is a lightning rod in any story where a shooting occurs. Then there is race: The young victim, Tamir Rice, was black. Add in the third element — he was gunned down by police, even as the nation holds its collective breath over the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo. — and you have the makings of a perfect storm.
Jeff Fullmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, provides the other half”
The officer had no clue he is a 12-year-old. He had no clue it was a toy gun, he was kind of shocked. He was concentrating more on the hands than on the age. It’s not go shoot a 12-year-old with a good fake gun. It’s not that scenario at all. This is a compassionate officer.