Maryland Cops Avoid Shooting Kid with Toy Gun

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How’s this for a nearly averted tragedy: On New Year’s Eve, Annapolis police responded to calls reporting a man wearing a ski mask and toting a rifle and a handgun.

Annapolis officers ordered the guy to drop his weapons and lie on the ground. “That ski mask comes off and I see this baby face,” one of the officers told the Baltimore Sun. The “gunman” in question turned out to be a 13-year-old boy playing with his Christmas gifts, a couple of Airsoft guns. It was an eerie echo of a very similar situation in Cleveland, when police shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was also playing with a toy gun. In the Annapolis case, no shots were fired and no one was killed.

Baltimore Sun reporter Susan Reimer reports on some of the differences between the situations in Cleveland and Annapolis. The Maryland officers were more experienced, for one. They also took the time to order the young man to drop the weapon and lie on the ground, and he immediately complied. The Cleveland officer shot Rice within two seconds of arriving on the scene. Both the kid and the officers in the Annapolis case were white, and the incident happened in a swanky neighborhood.

It’s a shame that a story about officers not shooting a teenager playing with a toy gun is news.

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