The mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was fatally shot by police in 2014, is disheartened by a video that recently surfaced of a white cop scolding two Black boys for walking around with two a pellet gun.
The Columbus Police Department tweeted out body camera footage on Sunday of what they thought was a teachable moment between an officer and two kids. However, the video ruffled a few feathers after one of the cops drew out his weapon on the boys and telling them to kneel on the ground before picking up what turned out to be a BB gun on the sidewalk. They tagged the tweet, “LESSON LEARNED.”
In the camera footage, Officer Peter Casuccio told the unidentified 11 and 13-year-old boys, “I could have killed you.” He added, “I want you to think about that tonight when you go to bed. … You could be gone. Everything you want to do in this life could’ve been over.”
One of the kids replied, “I’m so sorry” to which the officer says, “You should be.”
The video drew a wide array of criticism from several people including Tamir Rice’s mother Samaria Rice.
“You think you’re saving the day because you didn’t kill a Black baby? You don’t get kudos for doing your job. It’s actually not a lesson to be learned. Ohio is an open-carry state,” Rice told The Movement.
Samaria’s son Tamir was shot and killed by Cleveland Police for carrying a pellet gun. She said the video footage of Officer Casuccio was disappointing.
“As a Black parent, we shouldn’t have to have these conversations,” said Samaria. “You can clearly see they’re boys. You want to get a pat on your back for using your better judgment? You should have some compassion in your voice when you’re speaking to children.”
Someone reportedly called the cops on the two boys and claimed the kids had just flashed a gun. One of the boys tried to explain he only pulled the gun out of his pocket the moment officers pulled up, but Casuccio tells the kids “you can’t do that.”
When the Ohio officer dropped the boys off, he told their mother that he drew his gun out on the boys and made them get on the ground.
“I didn’t know it was a BB gun until it hit the sidewalk,” Casuccio said to the kid’s mother. “Regardless of what people say about the dudes wearing this uniform, we care. The last thing I ever want to do is shoot an 11-year-old man.”
Samaria said Casuccio’s actions were just another way of trying to justify his and other cop’s behavior towards young Black men.
“People try to paint this picture like the police are interacting with the community in a positive way. … People try to paint this picture like the police are interacting with the community in a positive way,” said Rice.
12-year-old Tamir wasn’t the only one to suffer from the hands of an Ohio’s police officer. In 2014, John Crawford III was killed by Beavercreek, Ohio officer Sean Williams in a Walmart for holding a pellet gun in hand which cops thought was a firearm.