St. Louis Police Under Fire After Tamir Rice’s Funeral
The day after Tamir Rice’s funeral in Cleveland (Nov. 4), the Fenton precinct of the St. Louis County Police Department took the worst approach to his death. Deciding to add their two cents, they wrote an insensitive post titled, “Kids will be Kids?” on their Facebook account.
Written by officer Aaron Dilks, the status suggests Tamir’s actions with playing with a fake gun contributed to his own death. “This article is not about this boy losing his life, whether this was a justified shooting or whether the officer acted to fast,” he wrote among other unacceptable comments.
Dilks who admitted to not knowing the full details on Tamir’s fatal death on November 22, warned parents of the repercussions in owning toys similar to that of Rice’s and having them in public. Stating, “if the type of gun is in question by the witness, the Police will respond as though it is a real gun until it can be confirmed one way or the other,” Dilks also suggested parents put rules on toys that closely resemble actual guns.
Tim Loehmann, the officer who killed the 12-year old, shot the child less than two seconds upon arriving at the Cudell Commons Park after seeing the child with a pellet toy gun. At Tamir Rice’s funeral on Wednesday, his uncle, Mike Petty, called for change in the communication between police and dispatchers. On November 3rd, the dispatchers did not relay a 911 caller’s statements that Tamir’s gun could be fake to police officers.
Although the intent of the post was to “inform citizens about the potential danger of airsoft or pellet guns,” St. Louis County’s police Chief Jon Belmar has since issued an apology to Tamir’s family over the obviously offensive Facebook post that has been deleted after national backlash. “The post conveyed the message that my officers respond to calls involving a child with a gun with indiscretion and little regard for life,” Belmar said. “I want to emphasize that my officers respond to calls with discernment, and have the highest regard for human life. We train officers to take all facts and circumstances into consideration when making decisions about using force.”
Do better St. Louis police.