Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.
In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?
America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is extremely difficult to be a police officer these days. All major police departments, including Dallas, have video cameras mounted in the squad cars. No matter what you do, you will be second guessed. I guess, overall, this is not a bad thing.
Ryan Moats, Houston Texans star running back, was speeding to the hospital with his wife in the car. His wife’s mother was dying. He was pulled over just in front of the hospital parking lot. (Watch the video.)
What unfolded appears to be inexcusable. (This is been picked up by major blogs.) Some will point to this video and see racism. I’m not sure that’s true. I think that this police officer has trouble controlling his own emotions. I think that he has some authority issues. I feel extremely sorry for him. I feel awful about Ryan Moats and his family. His mother-in-law did die while he was being confronted by the police officer. This very easily could’ve been something else entirely. Imagine a police officer actually helping Ryan Moats get to the hospital. What would have been lost? It’s extremely sad.
From the Dallas Morning News: Dallas police Officer Robert Powell resigned Wednesday, a week after he garnered national notoriety for detaining an NFL player outside a hospital where his mother-in-law lay dying.
“With a heavy heart and great sadness, I resigned from the Dallas Police Department this morning,” he said in a statement issued by his attorneys. “I made this decision in the hope that my resignation will allow the Dallas Police Department, my fellow officers, and the citizens of Dallas to better reflect on this experience, learn from the mistakes made, and move forward.”
The resignation won’t end the internal-affairs investigation into Powell’s actions, police officials said.
The officer was accused of misconduct after he stopped Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats for rolling through a red light while rushing his wife and her family to the hospital the night of March 17. Squad-car video shows Powell berating Moats during a 13-minute episode while his mother-in-law died. He publicly apologized last week for adding to the family’s grief.