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Post Killings by Police; the Toy Gun in Cleveland
Created by John Eipper on 12/11/14 4:50 PM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Killings by Police; the Toy Gun in Cleveland (Randy Black, USA, 12/11/14 4:50 pm)

In his post of 11 December, Paul Pitlick accused me of obfuscation because of my statement that murder of African-Americans in the United States is overwhelmingly a "black-on-black" crime. Those stats were cited by former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani recently on Meet the Press. Giuliani got his statistic from the US Department of Justice, 2010 report. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

My point that perhaps I should have made more clear is that, contrary to the media and the anti-white activist rants in recent months, blacks are not targeted by white police officers. As Giuliani said, "if the crimes were not being committed, the cops wouldn't be there."

Additionally, Paul accused me of not painting a complete picture in my post when I clearly referred to the very numbers that Massoud Malek had cited in his December 7 post. I did not originate this conversation; I simply added to it.

If anything is amiss, Paul ignored the fact that Massoud drew his numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By the way, I tracked back to Massoud's post and then to the Tampa Bay report and discovered that Massoud mistyped. The quote he repeated should have read, "A national count kept by the FBI reported 1,242 justifiable homicides by police officers from those 105 departments between 2007 and 2012. Not 2,718, as Massoud wrote. Additionally, the numbers were included in an additional article in The Wall Street Journal. I also now note that the Tampa Bay article is a reprint from Slate.com.

From that same article, I found that "US attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, with grand juries returning an indictment on all but 11 of them." Thus, the argument that government attorneys don't always get indictments falls apart statistically.

Significantly, Massoud seems to have left out an important survey from that same Tampa Bay Times article. Left out was the following fact: A June Gallup survey found, "45 percent of black respondents to a separate Gallup survey rated officers' general honesty and ethics as 'high' or 'very high,' with less than 1 in 5 giving them a grade of 'low' or worse."

Regarding the numbers that I reprinted from Massoud's post, and that Paul and John Eipper somehow attributed to me, Paul said, "So what? The reference to '2,718 (1,242) criminals' is also a problematic phrase." I believe that both are ignoring the FBI report cited in Massoud's URL attribution that the shootings were "justified," which led to my adjective "criminals." My position is that if the FBI calls the 1,242 police shootings justifiable, then my label "criminals" is justified.

Finally, Paul also asked, "was the 12-year-old boy killed in Cleveland for displaying a plastic gun a 'criminal?'" If the young man had carried that replica gun in California, Illinois, Michigan and a few other locales, yes. Legally, he was a criminal.

On two counts, I submit that the young boy acted criminally. First, he carried a hand gun replica, actually a pellet gun, and had removed the federally--and internationally--mandated orange plastic barrel extension. Second, he waved it around, pointed it at others and "fatally" pointed it at police. The photo attached is the actual pellet gun that the boy pointed at everyone and that prompted the call by a bystander to the local 911. Police did not just happen by. A caller said that the boy was scaring others with his antics that by now we've all seen on the video.

As I said, the pellet gun carried by the 12-year-old Ohio boy was illegal in California where Paul lives.

California requires such weapons, and pellet guns are weapons, to be brightly colored. Such weapons are also banned in New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, and parts of Michigan. Chicago goes even farther, making it a crime to wield a look-alike or replica gun of any kind. If a toy gun or replica gun is used to commit a crime in the Windy City, then that person is treated as though they had actually used a real firearm. I agree.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that a 12-year-old boy was shot by police Saturday afternoon after officers say he reached for a gun after he was ordered to put up his hands. Police say the gun that was recovered was not a firearm, but that an orange safety tip had been removed.  See more at:


JE comments:  The photo is below.  On my sixth or seventh birthday Dad gave me a water pistol that was a dead ringer (poor choice of words) for a German Luger.  My father often had strange tastes in gifts.  I proudly brandished it around my friends, and squirted more than a few.  Those were the days before orange tips.  Glad I lived to tell the tale.

That is an intimidating toy, but it was a child (for cryin' out loud).

A legal distinction should be made between local (as in Ferguson and Staten Island) and federal indictments.  I would assume Federal Grand Juries are far more likely to indict.

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  • Police Kill 12-Year-Old in Cleveland (Massoud Malek, USA 12/12/14 10:06 AM)
    A video released by Cleveland police shows that a white officer shot Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, in a park on 22 November, "one-and-a-half to two seconds" after police drove into the park and confronted a bored 12-year old kid who was pacing with a toy gun in his hand and talking on a cellphone. The boy died the following day.


    "Shots fired, male down, black male, maybe 20," said the officer who called in the shooting.

    As Tamir Rice's 14-year old sister rushed to her brother's side upon learning he'd been shot, police officers "tackled" her, handcuffed her and placed her in a squad car with the white officer who shot Tamir. The police told the mother to calm down or they would put her in the back of the police car. When she asked the police to let her daughter go, they wouldn't.


    Not knowing that a camera recorded the entire incident, the two police officers told what happened.

    Tamir Rice was seated at a table with other people. As they pulled up, they saw him grab the gun and put it in his waistband. They got out of the car and told the boy three times to put his hands up but he refused. He was then shot and killed by the rookie officer Timothy Loehmann.

    Here is what happened:

    The boy was pacing with a toy gun in his hand. It take much longer than two seconds to tell someone three times, "put your hands up." Personnel documents from a suburban Ohio police department revealed that Timothy Loehmann was effectively fired from a small-town police force in 2012 because he "could not follow simple directions," displayed "dismal" gun skills and had a "weepy" demeanor.

    The officers on the scene refused Tamir Rice any type of first aid for four crucial minutes of his life. It was only when an FBI agent who happened to be near the scene arrived that he began giving Tamir the life support he needed, making it appear as if the officers may have actually wanted Tamir Rice to die after the shooting.


    On 25 November, St. Louis County Police Department's official Twitter account tweeted the link to an article posted on a precinct's Facebook page responding to the police shooting death of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The post, which was quickly removed, explained that Rice's death was the result of confusion.


    Would another grand jury find a way to prove to the African-Americans that a confused white police officer who lies under stress and murders a 12-year old boy believing that he is 20 must be set free?

    JE comments:  Weepy or creepy?  It's creepy to realize that when WAIS first started discussing the Ferguson killing (Ric Mauricio, 12 September), Tamir Rice was still very much alive.  We could also call it creepy that events like this tend to happen in threes.

    To get the opposite perspective, Randy Black has sent a second comment on the Tamir Rice case.  I'll get to Randy's post today.

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    • Police Kill Homeless Man in Milwaukee, April 2014 (Mike Bonnie, USA 12/13/14 4:47 AM)
      I have mixed feelings about the April 30th, 2014 shooting of an unarmed man, who happens to be Black, by a Milwaukee police officer who happens to be White. Issues following the killing are still unresolved. Protestors take to the streets daily, have blocked city streets and freeway traffic, occupy city office buildings and the central police station, looking to talk with the chief of police, county prosecutor and the mayor. The police officer responsible for the shooting has been fired for failing to follow "protocol" in patting down the shooting victim; he has not been charged with a crime, so in the eyes of the dead man's family and supporters, justice has not been served. Initial reports of the shooting were vague, but details have emerged as police reports and an autopsy report have surfaced.

      The victim (Dontre Hamilton) was sleeping on a park bench outside a Starbuck's in downtown Milwaukee. A worker at the Starbuck's called police, and two officers were sent to check on the "welfare" of the man. They talked with Hamilton and left. A third officer arrived at the scene (Christopher Manney). He talked with Hamilton and then began to "pat him down" (search his pockets). According to the initial report by Manney, Hamilton swung at him then grabbed his nightstick and began beating him. Manney fearing for his life, and then opened fire.

      Details that follow: Hamilton had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at the county psychiatric hospital. He had been unable to obtain prescribed medications for the previous month, and was living on the street. Manney reported the victim attacked him using his own nightstick, although he bore no physical signs of being hit. Hamilton was shot 14 times, once in the back. Although autopsy reports do not tell the entire story, half the bullets entered Hamilton's body in a downward direction and from a distance.

      Following Manney's removal from the police force the local police union called for a "no-confidence" vote against Chief Flynn (a "Broken Windows Theory" advocate). The vote came back as 97% against the chief.

      "Manney was not one of the officers who attended a 40-hour course on crisis intervention approximately 20 percent of the Milwaukee Police Department has attended. He had taken a 3-hour class on the topic. Milwaukee is now offering a 16-hour mental health component for 1,400 officers who have not taken the crisis intervention training. These courses are designed to help officers recognize and assist citizens regardless of incapacity or disability."


      Releasing details of the autopsy report, "Jonathan Safran, the attorney for Dontre Hamilton's family, said he wants the public to have "more accurate information" as a prosecutor weighs whether to file charges against Officer Christopher Manney." (Wisconsin Law Journal, 12/01/14) http://wislawjournal.com/2014/12/01/attorney-inconsistences-in-milwaukee-shooting/

      As I stated at the beginning, I have mixed feelings about the situation. Why has it taken seven months to learn if District Attorney Chisholm will file criminal charges? What was the culpability of the mental health facility? And ultimately, why was Dontre Hamilton homeless?

      JE comments:  I had not heard of the Milwaukee case, but it appears that many American cities have experienced their Ferguson.  Note, however, that none of these incidents so far have come from the Deep South.  (St Louis is "almost" a Southern city, like Cincinnati or Baltimore, but not quite.)

      The fourteen bullets tell a damning story.  I could understand two or three in the heat of a scuffle, but 14?

      The Dontre Hamilton saga highlights America's mixed record of treating the mentally ill.  They used to be institutionalized, which was an imperfect system.  Now they are medicated and released, another imperfect system.  But it's cheaper.  Many mentally ill people become homeless, where they often don't have access to their meds. 

      I don't know what the solution is.

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  • Toy Guns (Carmen Negrin, -France 12/12/14 12:44 PM)
    Don't you think it is about time to stop selling arms? I mean both real ones and toy ones! We would have fewer problems related to gun murders. It is difficult to go to the giant toy stores and find something for boys that does not contain some sort of violence in it. Perhaps this banalization of arms from a very tender age has something to do with all these unnecessary murders, by police and others.

    JE comments: Carmen Negrín has phrased it perfectly: the banalization of arms. So what about a ban on toy guns--at least realistic-looking ones like Tamir Rice's? Think of it as the next step after orange tips.  Politically this would be impossible, in the United States at least, but what about a grass-roots campaign to get large retailers to stop selling them?

    At the same time, Carmen's proposal is of a very European flavor.  A basic tenet of American "exceptionalism":  we are in love with our guns.

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  • More on Tamir Rice Case (Randy Black, USA 12/12/14 2:48 PM)
    When John Eipper stated in his 11 December retort to my post of the same day that the death-by-cop of a Ohio 12-year-old who was waving what appeared to be a pistol at passersby was "just a child," I was just short of stunned. Sure, I thought, John had seen the online video of the matter and had read the 911 calls.

    Referring to my police-supplied photo of the replica weapon, John wrote, "That is an intimidating toy, but it was a child (for cryin' out loud)." As if pointing a replica gun "toy" would have saved a cop's life had he hesitated for even a second and had opted wrongly that the weapon was a toy when it was not.

    Even California, the land of endless numbers of bleeding-heart liberals, Chicago and parts of Michigan have seen the light and disagree with John. Pointing a replica weapon at anyone is a crime and is treated as if it was a real gun. No one has the time to hire a shrink and analyze whether or not the person waving the toy/real gun was mistreated or not properly potty-trained. And yes, I'm guilty of sarcasm.

    Here are some of the facts that John overlooked:

    In 2013, children (juvenile) offenders committed 680 murders in the United States.

    Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, aka the US Dept. of Justice. http://ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/offenders/qa03105.asp?qaDate=2011

    The good news is that the number is at its lowest level over the past 32 years. Juveniles are those "children" as John refers to them as those children age 17 and younger.

    Jan. 14, 2013, A California boy, now 12, was convicted of second-degree murder on Monday for shooting dead his neo-Nazi father when he was 10.

    Aug. 7, 2014, Detroit: What seemed like an average summer night turned deadly after a 9-year old boy was killed on the playground (by a 12-year-old). The western Michigan community of Kentwood is now trying to come to grips with the murder.

    Oct. 15, 2014, Police said Tristin Kurilla, 10, of Damascus Township as visiting his grandfather on Saturday at his home on Skylake Road in Tyler Hill. Pennsylvania Investigators said Kurilla went into the room of Helen Novak, 90, and after some kind of dispute, Kurilla punched Novak multiple times in the throat. (She died.)

    Aug. 5, 2014, Michigan: The other (child)--just a few years older at 12--calmly walking from the playground to a nearby house where he asks to use the phone, calls police and tells them he just stabbed the other boy. That was the chilling scene that played out Monday evening in the Grand Rapids suburb of Kentwood, according to police and neighbors. Michael Conner Verkerke died at a hospital after he was stabbed repeatedly in the back on the playground at the Pinebrook Village mobile home park, police said.

    In 2011, 5% of high school students carried a gun on school property, and 7% were threatened or injured by a weapon (e.g., gun, knife, or club) on school property.

    Among selected larger urban school districts Washington, DC, had the highest percentage of students carrying a gun to school (7.5%).

    "He was just a child." (John Eipper).

    Twenty-seven American police officers were murdered by criminals in the line of duty in 2013 (Randy Black)

    Additional sources: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/Youth_Gun_Violence_Fact_Sheet.pdf


    JE comments: I don't see what is stunning about calling a 12-year-old a child.  I wasn't suggesting that Tamir Rice was a well-behaved child, but does that mean he deserved to die?  Randy Black gives me the impression that his answer would be yes.

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