The Baltimore Police Department has posted an update to their Facebook page about a shooting of a 13-year-old boy that took place on April 27 — ironically, on the one-year anniversary of the funeral of Freddie Gray, which prompted riots. Now there’s controversy brewing on each side of the gun debate about the way the incident is being reported.
On the Facebook page of the Baltimore Police Department, a post explaining the shooting of the 13-year-old was published, along with a photo of the toy gun, to display how realistic the gun appeared. The Facebook post, titled “Officer Involved Shooting,” explained what occurred on the “unit block of Aisquith Street” prior to the 13-year-old being shot.
“On April 27, 2016, at approximately 4:10pm, two Baltimore Police Officers were in the area of Aisquith Street and Baltimore Street when they observed a male with a handgun. The officers began to chase the suspect on foot and at the conclusion of the chase a shooting occurred. The suspect, a 13-year old male, was transported to an area hospital for treatment with non-life threatening injuries. The officers were not injured during the incident.
“Investigators from our Special Investigation Response Team were called to the scene and are investigating the circumstances around this incident. A replica handgun was recovered from the scene which is pictured below.”
The controversy over the shooting is already erupting over the shooting itself and how it is being reported. When CBS Baltimore used the word “suspect” to describe the 13-year-old boy and “replica semi-automatic pistol” instead of BB gun or toy gun, it caused controversy.
#BREAKING: 13-year-old suspect with replica semi-automatic pistol shot by officers in N.E. Baltimore. Expected to survive.
Leah McElrath took issue with the 13-year-old being called a suspect instead of a “teen” or “boy” or “male” or “person” — and the manner in which the toy gun was described. Leah’s tweet was liked and retweeted on Twitter thousands of times in less than two hours.
"suspect" vs "boy"
"replica semi-automatic pistol" vs "toy gun"
— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) April 27, 2016
The reaction on Facebook shows readers responding on both sides of the issue, with some blaming the 13-year-old and his parents for having such a realistic-looking toy gun. Others blame the police for reportedly shooting at a 13-year-old who ran away from them, as reported by KTAR. The teen boy is expected to live.
Carla Brown: “Thank God they didn’t kill him….”
Ken Pelletier: “You too can own you very own officer involved shooting magnet. 2 day shipping for Prime members!!! http://www.amazon.com/Beretta-92FS-Blue-air…/dp/B00193S2HA Remind me again why these are made to look so real?”
Dan Revillini: “BPD, are you for real right now? This is the justification for an officer of the law shooting a teenager who was running away from two plainclothes intelligence officers with an illegal gas- or air-pellet gun?”
The name of the 13-year-old hasn’t been released; however, the fact that the shooting took place on the anniversary of the riots that occurred in Baltimore on Wednesday, April 27, 2015, is noteworthy. As seen in the featured photo above, a protester speaks to people who gathered in Baltimore in the Penn North neighborhood. The riots happened after the funeral for Freddie, who was arrested and eventually injured while being transported in a police van. It was an injury that led to Gray’s death, and in the wake of Freddie’s death, the focus on police relations and mistreatment of citizens increased.
— Cy-Fi (@DjCyFi) April 27, 2016
As reported by the Huffington Post, the shooting of the 13-year-old comes after Cleveland, Ohio, settled for $6 million with Tamir Rice’s family. Tamir was 12 years old when police shot him to death for having a toy gun in a park.
[Photo by AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]