Police Shoot 13-Year-Old Carrying a Replica Gun & Then Blame His Mom

BB Gun

Over the past couple of years, we've seen more young, black men being killed by police than any of us care to imagine. But, this is not new -- police brutality -- and it's certainly not new for African-American men. The only difference now is that we're able to get more coverage, information, and thus insight on what preventative actions to take. Unfortunately, that won't change things overnight, and that's why we're here talking about yet another young black boy being shot. Now a mere 13-year-old was shot in Baltimore -- ironically, on the anniversary of the Freddie Gray riots that took place in the city. 

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While the young boy's injuries weren't fatal, he was shot due to a detective's suspicion that he may have been carrying a firearm. It was later found to be a spring-air powered BB gun (designed to look like a semi-automatic pistol). And while he did try to run when the two plainclothes detectives identified themselves, these officers had no right to shoot this kid (who a witness says turned and yelled it wasn't real); you shoot when your life is threatened, not when someone (especially a child) simply doesn't cooperate.

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As police commissioner Kevin Davis tried to ward off the bad press that's inevitably coming the department's way, he placed blame on the child's mother. He spoke out during a press conference, stating, "I've got two 13-year-old twins at home, and I'm trying to imagine my two 13-year-olds at home leaving my house with a replica semi-automatic pistol in their hand." He added, "The mom knew that her son left their house with a replica semi-automatic pistol in his hand. I can't wrap my head around that right now."

And while I don't blame the mother, I do think she made a poor judgment call by letting her black son leave the house with a toy gun in the wake of the Tamir Rice shooting and verdict.

Here's the thing: There are rules to being a black child (especially a boy) in America that don't give us room for childish antics that others may get away with (emphasis on may).

Some of those rules are as minor as our dress code and as major as cooperating with the police (despite everything they have been known to do in the past). These are critical lessons we're taught in order to see another day. While it's sad that mothers have to make time explaining to their sons that they can't wear their hoodies up on a windy day, it's our reality and it always has been -- and now more than ever it's important to teach our sons these things.

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Many black women contemplate the right time to sit and have "the talk" with their sons, not wanting to scare them, but also not wanting to lose them a day too early to a world that doesn't value them enough to think before shooting. And, the truth is the sooner the better -- because black children are being killed far too often.

This isn't survival of the fittest; it's survival of the black man. And like it or not, we just can't afford to chance the lives of our youth with "mishaps."

 

Image via Baltimore Police Department/Facebook

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