By: Cayla Destefani
Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy from Cleveland. On Saturday, November 22, the boy was at a local park outside of the Cudell Recreation Center and apparently pulling out and waiving around an Airsoft gun with the orange tip removed. Police arrived at the scene and told the boy to drop his weapon. When he did not comply and pulled the weapon from his pants–though he did not point the gun at police or make any threats—an officer fired twice, hitting the boy in the stomach. He died the next day at the MetroHealth Medical Center after surgery.
The police received a call from a man saying that he saw a boy pulling a gun in and out of his pants, pointing it at people, and waving it around. The caller supposedly said that the gun was “probably fake” and followed up that statement with, “I’m not sure if it is real or not.” Airsoft guns normally have a bright orange safety tip on them to identify them as toy weapons.
Supposedly Rice went to the park with his friends. No one is really sure of the exact events leading up to the shooting other than the police felt threatened that the boy had a real gun. The boy’s mother does not understand why her son was shot.
Cleveland police have been under increased scrutiny and surveillance over the past few years by the U.S. Justice Department. There have been investigations over their use of force practices.
As a result of the shooting, a state lawmaker now wants to propose new legislature that requires all of the Airsoft guns, BB guns, and Air rifles to be brightly colored or have brightly-colored fluorescent strips.