The police shooting death of a 12-year-old boy carrying a toy gun in Cleveland has sparked an investigation – and questions over why officers decided to open fire instead of using a stun gun. Two officers have been placed on administrative leave pending a probe into Saturday’s shooting of pre-teen Tamir Rice.
Police said officers responded to a report of a person waving a gun at a playground Saturday and that Tamir was shot after he allegedly refused to put his hands up and reached in his waistband to retrieve what appeared to be a handgun. The handgun turned out to be an “airsoft” replica toy gun, which shoots pellets in the same manner a BB gun does. Cleveland police said in a statement that the orange marking designed to make toy guns distinguishable from real firearms had been removed.
[ via http://t.co/krFKCyTwtI ] Tamir E Rice dies after being shot by Cleveland cops fo… https://t.co/0h8j6QWStd pic.twitter.com/8adcvsSGJA
— Tip Monkey (@TipMonkey) November 24, 2014
A man, who called 911, told dispatchers the boy was on a swing set and pointing a pistol that was “probably fake” and scaring everyone – but officers weren’t told the caller though the gun might be fake, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association told The Associated Press.
Tamir’s father, Gregory Henderson, questioned why police chose to shoot his son instead of using a stun gun. “Why not tase 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,” Henderson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Tamir died of his wounds on Sunday morning.
Henderson described his son as a “respectful young man” who minded his elders. He said he couldn’t comprehend why his son would not follow police orders, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
“Who would’ve thought he would go so soon?” Henderson told WKYC.
“He had his whole life ahead (of him). To be 12 years old, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Police they know what they’re doing.”
2 Officers Place on Administrative Leave Following Shooting Death of 12-Year-Old Boy