Tamir Rice: 12-year old Black boy executed by the Police


Most boys around the ages of 5 and 12 have toy guns, including my own 9-year old son. Some of those guns are more real-looking than others but they are all toys, and children like them.

Imagine the parents of Tamir Rice who have sat down and watched the CCTV video of their son playing in the park with his toy gun, only to see a police car pull up alongside him and shoot him down dead. Tamar’s family have allowed the video to be shown. If you watch the video it is not graphic but deeply upsetting.

The shocking video has no audio, but there is almost no time -perhaps 5 seconds- from the police getting out of their car and the little boy being shot dead.

The 911 call that triggered the police response specifically tells the officers that the kid may have a toy gun.

Are the police in Cleveland not trained to assess a situation before going in guns blazing like a cowboy movie? Is this like Mike Brown and Travyon Martin where officers of the law view a Black man, or in this case a boy, not as a human being but as a gun target or a beast that could overcome and kill them even though they have no weapon?

Right now America is tearing itself apart, and in some places it is a country which is more divided than ever: Black America’s response is one of shock and horror at the awful injustices by these State sanctioned executions. Much of White America is equally outraged because they feel any attack of police is ultimately an attack on their social supremacy.

The killings of this boy and these young men are at the very core of what is most wrong in America where a powerful white society decides, who is good, and who is bad; who can have a life chance, and who can’t. “God Bless American”, doesn’t apply to all.

My heart particularly sinks when I see killing of a 12 year old. That boy shot dead could be my son or yours if we lived in the US and we’re seen by the authorities not as human beings but as beasts that need to be controlled.

As a father, Tamir Rice, I’m sorry, I’m deeply sorry. But rest in peace little man. At least now you’re in place where your soul will be cherished and truly loved.

Simon Woolley