Listen up, Black Mothers: This is of the utmost importance! It is full time you realize that toy guns were never meant for your children! The billion dollar toy gun industry may target you to get your hard-earned cash, but giving in to the tearful pleas of your little ones may have deadly consequences.
I wish words were like little toy guns
No sting, no hurt no one, Just a bang bang rollin' off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
No smoke, no bullets, no kick from the trigger when you pull it
No pain, no damage done
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
Just a bang bang rollin' off your tongue
(I wish words were like little toy guns)
Ah, Carrie, if only you knew just how much pain and damage can be visited on little black bodies that dare to indulge in the very American pastime of playing with the gun that was never intended for their little black hands.
On April 27, 2016, at approximately 4:10pm, two Baltimore Police Officers were in the area of Aisquith Street and Baltimore Street when they observed a male with a handgun. The officers began to chase the suspect on foot and at the conclusion of the chase a shooting occurred. The suspect, a 13-year old male, was transported to an area hospital for treatment with non-life threatening injuries.
"I heard him yell, 'It's not real,' like twice, and that quick, the male officer shot him twice in the leg," said the man, whom the station identified only as Bryan.
One of the two officers, a 12-year-veteran named Thomas Smith, shot the teenager twice, once in the leg and once in the shoulder, according to Davis.
One year ago the city erupted in protest after Freddy Gray died as a direct result of over-policing and brutality by Baltimore's finest. The alacrity with which Baltimore’s newly appointed Chief of Police rushed to exonerate the police officers responsible for pumping two shots into the body of the 13-year-old showed just how steep a hill we have yet to climb before we get the type of LAE we deserve.
In his obscene statement issued after the city of Cleveland admitted that Timothy Loehmann murdered Tamir Rice, the odious head of the Police Union had this to say:
"We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms," the statement read. "Something positive must come from this tragic loss. That would be educating youth of the dangers of possessing a real or replica firearm."
That statement from Steve Loomis is eerily similar to sentiments expressed by Baltimore’s Commissioner of Police, Kevin Davis, at his blame-the-victim news conference.
Notice that both men chose to go after the kids for wanting to play with toy guns and their parents for allowing them to so do? Not one critical word from the gentlemen about the manufacturers for designing the guns in the first place, or the retailers for selling them.
"A dead-on ringer for a Beretta 92FS semiautomatic pistol."
The Police Commissioner must have repeated that phrase 100 times since his cops shot the child. I listened to see whether the reporters would ask him who made those Beretta semiautomatic look-alike pistols, and for what purpose. Dedric was only playing with the toy; he didn’t make it. And neither did Tamir or Andy. It would also have been interesting to learn how many white kids have been shot because they were seen with toy guns. Or even real guns, for that matter. Or how many white mothers have been detained and questioned because their children were seen with toy guns. Of course, those questions were not asked. But that wasn’t even the most egregious statement made by Commissioner Davis.
Davis repeatedly referred to the 13-year-old as “young man,” thus refusing to acknowledge that he was talking about a child. Research shows that this mindset is not at all uncommon among cops...or the majority community, for that matter.
“The evidence shows that perceptions of the essential nature of children can be affected by race, and for black children, this can mean they lose the protection afforded by assumed childhood innocence well before they become adults,” said co-author Matthew Jackson, PhD, also of UCLA. “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”
And it only got worse.
"Why this young man chose to leave his home with a replica semi-automatic pistol in his hand, I don't know," he said. "Why this young man chose to flee on foot when he was approached by two Baltimore police officers, I don't know. Why that young man chose not to drop the gun and comply with the officers' commands to stop? I don't know that either."
Why did this black child run from the police? Why did he run???!! From two plainclothes police officers, I might add. How to answer that one? Seriously? Are you kidding me right now? Tamir Rice, Andy Lopez, 14-year-old Cameron Tillman, Michael Brown, VonDerrit Myers Jr., 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. And on and on. It may be that black boys run from the police because they too have a sense of self-preservation?
So what is it to be? Are certain types of toy guns to be off-limits to black children? “ Whites only” toy guns? If that is so, let’s label them as such. Let’s get it out in the open.
Realistic-looking toy gun aside, did officer Thomas Smith really have to shoot that little boy? Of course not! What might have been the course of action if we had a caring, sophisticated police force?
- Patience and restraint
- Calls for reinforcement
- Communication and cajoling
- Distraction and disarming
Those are rules of engagement that should work with all guns — both toy and real. Other countries are doing it and so should we. Demand more from our police force. Lives are at stake.
Thank goodness that Dedric’s life was spared. Get well soon, Dedric.
Update on Our California Ballot Initiative
We are rapidly approaching the signature collection phase of our campaign to get the Over-Policed Rights Act on the California ballot. We will be needing your help.
This is a screengrab of the Summary and Title of the Ballot Initiative sent to us by the California Department of Justice:
We await word from the Secretary of State who will be sending us a schedule with the maximum filing deadline and the certification deadline.
More awesome news! Our law has been submitted as a Resolution to the NAACP. That august body will now discuss and then vote on whether to adopt The Michael Brown Over-Police Rights Act (MBOPRA) at the Legislative Session of the NAACP’s Annual Convention.
In Other News…
Among those killed was 53-year-old Bradford Macomber
Macomber was outside the restaurant when officers arrived and he became 'resistive' as officers tried to investigate the complaint, Sgt. Damon McDaniel said in a news release, according to the Sun Herald.
Police used a stun gun to subdue him because he was continuing to resist them and acting disorderly, Gulfport police.
Macomber was handcuffed at the time he was tasered.
An ambulance was called after the erratic behavior continued and Macomber was brought to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to WXXV 25.
2. Cop beat handcuffed woman while his colleagues watch
Footage released by the sherriff’s office shows Borisade striking 31-year-old Mayra Martinez, who attempted to kick Borisade as she was being restrained and checked into a jail.
The incident began Wednesday after authorities responded to a dispute at a Jacksonville bar. Martinez had been asked to leave the bar, but refused to do so. Officials arrested her on charges including trespass.
At the height of the unrest in Baltimore last year, 18-year-old Allen Bullock climbed on top of a police cruiser, raised an orange traffic cone over his head and smashed it through the car’s windshield. A crowd closed in around Bullock, with some joining in on the destruction. Photographers snapped images, quickly making Bullock’s act of defiance a resounding symbol of the protests that rocked Charm City for a week in April.
Bullock, now 19, says he’d lost a friend a week earlier, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray suffered a fatal injury in police custody.
4. Prince’s tribute to Freddie Gray...and to Baltimore:
RIP, Prince Roger Nelson.
About Support the Dream Defenders
Members of the Daily Kos group Support the Dream Defenders launched four ongoing projects:
1. We came together to support the Dream Defenders in Florida and their mission, our first project and the origin of our name. The Dream Defendersdefend the Dream of Martin Luther King Jr. by "develop[ing] the next generation of radical leaders to realize and exercise our independent collective power; building alternative systems and organizing to disrupt the structures that oppress our communities." Please donate here.
2. Our Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act, crowd-sourced at Daily Kos in the fall of 2014 after the death of Michael Brown. Our bill quickly earned endorsements from the NAACP and the ACLU. The NAACP forwarded our bill to members of Congress, and we distributed it to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other progressive members of Congress. President Obama signed into a law a small piece of our bill in December 2014. The Department of Justice included parts of our law in their reports on Ferguson, Missouri, in 2015. Our state version of the MBOPRA is currently in committee in the Kansas legislature.
3. Our Freedom of Information Act project. Nineteen Republican governors chose to kill poor people by not expanding Medicaid. Ebola has killed about 9000 people in total; Republican governors kill 23,000 people PER YEAR by refusing federal support for Medicaid, a story ignored by traditional media. Our project forces those governors to out themselves, clapping them in a Catch 22. With the support of readers, we publicize our results through letters to the editor, press releases, and petitions.
4. Our Law Enforcement Documentation Act of 2016.
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