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Two White Boys Caught, Arrested for Playing with BB Guns in Park, Forced to Write Essay on Tamir Rice as ‘Punishment’

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Image courtesy of MotherJones.com

What happens when police discover a 12-year-old African-American boy playing with a toy gun? They shoot him down with little to no hesitation. What happens when two white boys are caught fiddling with a BB gun? They’re forced to write an essay on the Black boy who got shot.

A magistrate judge ordered two boys to perform community service and write an essay on the death of Tamir Rice after they were caught playing with BB guns in a Parma, Ohio park, Cleveland.com reports. Both of the boys, aged 12 and 15, were slapped with a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Their incident is eerily similar to that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a Black boy shot dead by police at a Cleveland park for playing with what appeared to be a real gun.

According to Cleveland.com, lawyers for the two boys attempted to have the charges dropped, but Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Linda Gaines Herman objected to the request during an arraignment Friday in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Their lawyers tried to bar media from the courtroom as well.

“We had a young boy playing with a gun and the results were disastrous for that family and for the community as a whole,” Herman told the court in regards to Tamir’s death. “We have an obligation to have a dialogue about something as simple as this and how it can go from simple to tragic in a very short period of time.”

On Feb. 21, police responded to a call of two kids, possibly teens, playing with guns at a local park. Surveillance video captured footage of the boys, who are brothers, surrendering to authorities without incident.

According to Black Matters, Magistrate Judge Je’Nine Nickerson asked if the boys knew who Tamir Rice was, to which they both responded ‘yes.’

“It is a very fine line when people have to make split-second decisions as to what is a BB gun and what is a gun,” Nickerson said. “When a police officer has to respond, in this particular climate, you are putting yourself at risk. You have to understand that your actions have consequences.”

Cleveland.com reports that the 15-year-old must pay over $150 in court fees while his younger brother will also pay around $150. They each will be required to write an essay for the judge explaining the similarities and differences between their case and that of Tamir Rice.

Attorney Thomas Robinson, who is representing the older brother, said his client “has a much deeper understanding about what happened” and regrets his actions.

“[He] understands that something as innocent as boys playing with BB guns could cause a significant amount of alarm, and put not only others, but the boys who have those BB guns in danger,” Edward Borkowski, the 12-year-old’s lawyer also explained to the court. “Going through this process, coming to the court certainly has had an impact on him.”

The boys’ lax punishment is a stark contrast to the price Tamir paid for the same actions — a price that calls into question the perceived innocence of Black boys versus white boys.

According to Cleveland.com, the two brothers are due back in court Aug. 19, when Judge Nickerson will decide whether to dismiss the charges or find the boys delinquent or not delinquent.

 

What people are saying

52 thoughts on “Two White Boys Caught, Arrested for Playing with BB Guns in Park, Forced to Write Essay on Tamir Rice as ‘Punishment’

  1. Rich Jackman says:

    Sick. The very fact that the two white boys were arrested rather than shot to death undermines the point the magistrate is trying to make.

    "They each will be required to write an essay for the judge explaining the similarities and differences between their case and that of Tamir Rice."

    May I suggest: "One difference is we are white and alive, and Tamier Rice is Black and dead."

  2. This is why Black people are tired and fed up with the injustice and total did for the lives of Black people. Yet, too many White people say they do not understand the problem nor do they understand why we are so upset. It has to be stupidity or Black Lives Do Not Matter. If Black Lives Matter, where is the outcry?

  3. Oh horse shit —– different circumstances different outcome.

  4. Bianca Thach says:

    So many ppl angry that the outcome in the two situations are different. Would it be better the cops made the same mistake twice? And had shot those two boys. When we as individuals stop giving (color) more attention than the event, then the bigger issues may be better addressed.

  5. Nobody wanted the kids to get shot, that's not the reason people are angry. People are still mad at the Tamir Rice shooting. This situation with the white kids just highlights the reason why Tamir was murdered, the cops automatically thought he was a threat because he was black. How can you expect us not to be angry? This is an ongoing thing for us and when we see white kids getting the benefit of the doubt and considered a non-threat, yes we get mad. Not because the white kids are still alive, but because we don't get that same respect.

  6. This too confirms… Different stroke for different folks. Raising a responsible young black man in this country… Forces us as black parents and our community to have to tell them about the different rules for people who look like us. How this country views his action differently and can consider even a child like action (running, playing or walking to a store) as a threat because your skin is brown. And that it could end in tragedy smh God help us all!

  7. Way to entirely miss the whole point…that's actually quite an accomplishment.

  8. Yes the circumstances were different. With Tamir Rice, the officers didn't give him a chance to surrender, instead the cop shot him while still in his vehicle. Also, the 911 call reporting Tamir Rice said it was probably a kid with a fake gun, yet they still shot him. And after they shot him they did not perform any medical aid, something they trained for and are supposed to do. With the two white kids however, they were given the time to surrender, the cop got out of his squad car before interacting with them. Also the 911 call said it was two teens playing with guns. They are still alive. Yes two completely different circumstances.

  9. Louis Abramson they didn't give Tamir a chance to raise his hands Big big difference, white black brown green or red or purple.

  10. Kirk Wheeler says:

    Louis Abramson IF you read the OFFICIAL report it states that the timestamp proves the officers fired on Tamir Rice within 2 seconds of arriving on the scene. No time for Tamir to raise his hands. How much time did they give the other 2 boys? Police are trained to de-esculate first. NOT shoot 2 seconds upon arriving on scene. Very BIG difference.

  11. "I'm not surprised" said 99.9% of black people…

  12. If these two incidents were done by the same officer then yes……racist….but different people react differently. I'm not saying either way was handled correctly, but just because it involves police doesn't make it the same.

  13. Art C. Lopez says:

    Marques 'Quez' Linly I wonder if this cop, if he shot the 2 white boys, would've been prosecuted?

  14. Art C. Lopez says:

    Aw man that's a great point, wish I made it. See below where I ask what would've happened to the cop if the 2 white kids were shot.

  15. Kelv Gabz Look at the video, the kids raised their hands immediatly, no hesitation, no questions asked. Big big difference, white black brown green or red or purple.

  16. Tony R. Gill says:

    Why is anyone surprised?

  17. Brian Hobson says:

    That should be the extent of the essay right there. Just that one sentence.

  18. Aiesha Jones says:

    I agree I just wish Tamir had had the same sort of mercy. Why were they so afraid of him?

  19. Rick Foster says:

    i think the term white boy is offensive

  20. Those critiquing a judge for sentencing two boys of European descent to write an essay each reflecting on Tamir Rice, regardless of their skin-color: Wtf are you talking about? I was also taught to not play with toy guns as a police officer might shoot me. I was raised in a wealthy neighbourhood. My father and a man who was working for us snapped a model 1911 into pieces in front of me when I was 13, a model which I'd had since I was nine, because I was playing basketball on the street while carrying it outside at night-time. It didn't have an orange cap, and had a functioning slide with false bullet down the barrel. Whether I'm white or olive or brown is irrelevant. I was raised in a wealthy neighbourhood, and regardless of my PERSONAL privilege, I was also taught not to play with toy guns as a police officer might shoot me or put me on the ground.

  21. I thought Tamier was pointing the gun at people? Not the cops should have come in guns blazing, that's the reason the family settled for 6million dollars. But I thought I saw a video with him pointing at a mom and her kid? Am I wrong?

  22. Glad that there was a different outcome…the punishment is appropriate…and it seems that there is an opportunity for learning. Period.

  23. what i think you all are misunderstanding is the fact that THEY ARE CHILDREN, and the difference betwenn the 2cases is that THE OFFICER DID NOT GIVE TAMAR RICE (yes the one BLACK child) A CHANCE TO PUT HIS HANDS UP and discover it was a toy. Meanwhile TWO caucasian children who were seen with guns (without the orange tip to signify that they were indeed toys) were subdued, arrested, and are ALIVE. THIS FOLKS IS THE DOUBLE STANDARD THAT WE ARE ANGRY ABOUT. ALL CHILDREN, SAME SCENERIO, DIFFERENT SKIN COLOR, DIFFERENT OUTCOMES!

  24. Vera Burr says:

    Where does ANYONE say that these kids should've been killed? It's amazing how asking for the same treatment to people like you is asking for something special. The POINT, since it seems to have gone completely over your head, is that Tamir Rice didn't get the chance these kids got. There were 2 of them, the oldest one was older than Tamar by 3 years, they weren't even cooperating. It's simply because they are not seen as a threat. A twelve year old black child playing alone in broad daylight is seen as more dangerous than an adult in a crowded area with an assault rifle. Looking at the video there are so many instances where what these kids are doing would be a killable offense for a black person. How one kid kept putting his hand is his pocket or sweatshirt? Black men are killed with their hands in the air or handcuffed behind their back. NO ONE IS ADVOCATING THAT THESE KIDS SHOULD HAVE BEEN HARMED. It is a great thing that they weren't and that shows that police are capable of de-escalting a situation when they want to. It is really that hard to understand when people ask for the same treatment for their children?

  25. LC Dean says:

    Robert Cornio, your comment just shows your racism. Tamir didn't really have a chance since the officer opened fire 2 seconds after getting out of the car. You should watch the video and count it yourself.

  26. Robert Cornio. Just from your comment i know your white thats a damn shame. Tamir rice was murdered cold blooded

  27. Marques 'Quez' Linly – you left out possibly the most detail of the chronology: The police dispatcher DID NOT pass along the information that the gun looked like a toy. The dispatcher only reported the claims of a kid with a gun pointing it at people. This detail was the most important variable as to why the police responded in the manner they did.

  28. Maybe some police have learned from the Tamir Rice murder so i would hope that wouldnt happen like that ever again regardless of what color the child is

  29. Mae Mercy Davis could you also tell by my comment that i actually watched both videos? I didnt mention race, I mentioned actions, which were very different from one case to the other. You are a racist.

  30. Devon Kelly Muchmore-Mulhaney I was also taught to not play with toy guns as a police officer might shoot me. I was raised in a wealthy neighbourhood. My father and a man who was working for us snapped a model 1911 into pieces in front of me when I was 13, a model which I'd had since I was nine, because I was playing basketball on the street while carrying it outside at night-time. It didn't have an orange cap, and had a functioning slide with false bullet down the barrel. Whether I'm white or olive or brown is irrelevant. I was raised in a wealthy neighbourhood, and regardless of my PERSONAL privilege, I was also taught not to play with toy guns as a police officer might shoot me or put me on the ground. How is this judge wrong? Are you actually suggesting that it would be better that these two children also die due to their skin-color from your perspective?

  31. Hail Sirius says:

    Mae Mercy Davis it's not that. It's the skin color >_>

  32. Rich Jackman says:

    Hm… It's not racist to assume that a person is white based on their comment, but it is bigoted. There's a difference. Racism is a structural system of oppression, and white people are not the subject of that oppression. So for a comment to be racist it has to be part of that oppression. Bigotry is believing negative sterotypes about people regardless of their position in society. I could have bigoted, or prejudiced views against rich people, for example.

    And you can't assume a Black person would not say what Robert did, May. There are always some people who side with those who oppress them. An example: On Facebook there's an argument raging between some of my friends about Black Lives Matter disrupting the Toronto Pride Parade to protest gay police officers marching in the parade. One of the most vociferous critics of BLM is Black. He's also gay, so maybe we're seeing someone choosing one identity over another as if they are incompatible in the painful game of identity politics. Meanwhile I'm white and arguing in favor of BLM. The whole debate is richly ironic because Pride commemorates the Stonewall riots, which started when queer people, mostly people of color, fought back when the police raided a gay bar, the Stonewall.

  33. Rich Jackman says:

    Devon Kelly Muchmore-Mulhaney Those may be its originins. But now we're arguing over the definition of a word, which gets us nowhere because the meanings of words are determined by consensus and are not fixed. I admit I started that argument. I was trying to distinguish between speech that is part of a systemic oppression and speech that is prejudiced but not part of such a system. What do you propose instead?

  34. Eddy Delgado says:

    The difference is that these two boys immediately complied, while Tamir advanced and moved his hand towards his waistband as the police arrived on scene. I don't know about the rest of you, but if the police roll up on me I become a statue and comply with any instructions.

  35. Damien Thibodeau Do you have a point in that copypasta? Please try not to infer anything that I didn't type.

  36. Vera Burr I believe that it's the manner in which the arguement is played that perhaps falsely insinuates that which you believe was assumed about commenters. That, in addition to some genuinely & clearly stating that which was assumed with mistaken regard to others who perhaps were not stating that aswell.

  37. Rich Jackman From my perspective, I would argue that Americans together would be more likely to address the reality of institutional racism, which from my perspective exists, without assuming the privilege of being of white-skin, as not all Caucasians, including Europeans, are of traditional "white" category however having white-skin gene, as all Eurasians do less southern Indians, if they were not placed personally in a position of defending theirs & their ancestors success against the accusation that such success was not earned–and to a portion of BLM, Afrocentrists namely, that their heritage was stolen & "whitewashed" (as on this very website). I say Is there a conspiracy of contemporary institutional racism, as many argue? I would disagree with them. Is there an inheritance of past institutional racism, in the USA, but also worldwide, in caste systems held by, yes, Indo-European & Semitic Caucasians? Yes, and we as communities feel such impacts today in our daily relationships, relationships though some might deny it or assume otherwise, that everyone feels. Whether one person feels fear, whether be a police officer looking at a potential deadly confrontation or a person of color looking at a potential deadly confrontation, or another feeling simply high tension in either situation, we all encounter race in a negative way everyday as much as it is a part of both biology & social construction.

  38. Rich Jackman I find it disappointing, to understate the situation, that both a black man in America would feel at risk in such situations and also that a law enforcement officer, a police officer, a copper, would feel threatened perhaps by someone simply due to that person's immediately apparent ancestry. I believe it important that it is understood that whether an individual is "black" does not make that individual less American. "Black" African-Americans are just as American as our oldest & most prominent families. Whether I personally am "white" or yellow/olive or "brown" as a Caucasian is irrelevant, as I am also American. BLM doesn't need to make police brutality about petty sociology, incorrect definitions about exactly what is Caucasoid/Caucasian (all of western Eurasia, not just Anglo-European) or "white" (all of Eurasia has white-skin gene less southern India), mixed with some Afrocentrism & racial generalisations. Police problems, judicial problems, should be seen as American problems, because then, everyone has a cause to go march for them. I do not believe in so-called "white" privilege. I do, however, understand that there is a legacy of "black" unprivilege internationally going as far back as unknown and/or lost prehistory, relevant here being within the USA & colonial BNA (even disregarding the much, much worse Latin America). Where privilege exists for fewer, unprivilege exists, where one is treated worse for race, whether be by biological definition or more loose social construct, as opposed to the "other" being unjustly treated better relatively. If BLM weren't so fringe, then I would support them. I shall never support BLM as a movement due to their behavior & outer-messages, not to suggest that I don't support their core messages. I do, entirely. Events like the ambush in Dallas tonight, where cops were running TOWARD the shooting AGAINST THEM to defend those who might support the shooters are what disgust me, just as much as Afrocentrism and police brutality. Note that during the police ambush, one cop ran toward the man with the AR-variant & bodyarmor at the pillar, though outmatched at the least by firepower, because he or she wanted to protect the public first. I'm far from a police apologist, but I'm certainly not one to turn the cheek from the truth. The core message of BLM may be peaceful, but without leadership, how BLM behaves from my perspective is the event of last night, and riots of the past years.

  39. Rich Jackman Perhaps it's only coincidence, though I admit myself quick sometimes to paint others with a broad brush that I speak against. Regardless: a tense & escalating environment. That is exactly how terrorism of the 1970s came to be, as also all other terrorism comes to be, and I shall never support such violence in response. I can understand the motivation behind such violence, however, and so one I believe might be mistaken about my beliefs. I understand terrorism, as the impatience & emotion of the 1970s, the early 1900s, brought forth radical leftist terrorism, the 1980s to today, radical religious terrorism, but I cannot condone it, even if the USA's Patriots were terrorists themselves, tarring & feathering Loyalists. I find it disappointing. Police problems, judicial problems, should be seen as American problems, because then, everyone has a cause to go march for them.

  40. Rich Jackman All-in-all, what we must focus on I would argue is ourselves, lest we lose our collective identity as Americans in the madness. From my perspective, Mr Trump's winning the primary was good because it revealed a distaste for political sensitivity masquerading as what is "correct" or "incorrect" in dialogue, regardless as to whether literally correct. That being, such has certainly been amplified to a level of what I can only call incorrect bigotry, as have generalisations & incivility from all angles & aisles, and while I would rather that Mr Trump loses, I also would rather that Mrs Clinton loses. We must, I would argue, encourage civil & objective conversation free of agenda, lest we lose our focus on reason, objectivity instead of subjectivity, unity as Americans, & peace between at the least ourselves. World peace begins at home.

  41. now why did the writer have to use the word White because now its going to become a racial issue.

  42. This is "White Privilege' in action!!! White people are so enmeshed in it, that they just can't see or accept the Truth of why 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot dead for playing with a toy gun; and these two white boys, who were spared their life, for doing the same; and made to write an essay about Tamir Rice; which is a grave insult to his memory, to his family, and to all black Americans!!!!

  43. Linda Brown says:

    You are wrong.

  44. John Fuchs says:

    Did the white boys point the gun at the police? Most likely no. The black boy did and refused to put it down. If you point a gun at someone with a gun, what do you think might happen?

  45. John Fuchs says:

    Maybe a big difference between these two incidences is the white boys were raised with a man in the house?

  46. Keith Bryant says:

    Timir Rice DID NOT point a gun at the police! He was shot within 3 seconds of the police car arriving on the scene! Had the officer taken the same steps as in the video above, a 12 year old kid would have lived. 1. From a sfe distance the officer gave commands. 2. The suspects complied. 3. Everybody goes home alive.

  47. Hannah Chase says:

    Robert Cornio You did not watch the video and if you did watch it then you are just lying to fit your agenda. Tamir Rice was shot within two seconds of the police stepping out of their vehicle. He did not point the gun at the police, he didn't even have the chance to comply before they killed him. You're either blind, stupid, or just plain racist.

  48. Hannah Chase says:

    No. Tamir Rice was shot and killed within 2 seconds after the cops stepped out of their vehicle. They didn't give him a chance to comply before they killed him.

  49. If you showed this to the typical Republican he or she would not even notice that something was amiss, or that there was a double standard. The same thing would happen with any RW pundit. Oh, hell, just let me say it. Most white people would just think it is as it should be, and that black lives do not matter, regardless of the age shows how disgraceful our culture and society is. People should be begging for another chance, and we are supposed to accept that Freddie Gray's spine just spontaneously broke! What a damned coincidence! We're supposed to think that when a 12-year old has a toy gun you gun him down as soon as possible if he's black because he might shoot down the cops?! Then we're supposed to go, oh well, stuff happens and just forget about it! This land is not the land of the free, the home of the brave and all that crap they claim it is.

  50. Jayson Gnall says:

    I need to clarify something. The two boys you are all claiming are white, you're all wrong. I was there. It's amazing on how false information gets reported and the media tells you all what you want to hear. That's why there is so much hate in the world. The fact of the matter is that the one boy was African American. Both boys followed the commands of the officer. And my video shows everything not just what everyone wants to see. From the time they were playing and pointing the gun at each other up to their arrest.

    As a society we all need to talk with one another to solve this issue. The media and government want the hatred to continue. American is not about hatred. Some of you may not agree with me, but that's your choice to continue to hate. Love will conquer hatred, it always does.

    Have a great evening and God Bless

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