Right. It’s Tamir’s fault that the 911 caller’s admonition that the gun he was playing with was “probably fake” never made it to the officers.
It’s Tamir’s fault that he was shot and killed by police officer Timothy Loehmann just “1½ to 2 seconds” after his car arrived on the scene.
And it’s Tamir’s fault that he was not seen as a child. “Shots fired, male down, um, black male, maybe 20,” one of the officers said when calling in the shooting. Or as Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association president Steve Loomis told Politico magazine, “He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body.” Given everything we know now about his case, the rest of Loomis’s quote is literally and figuratively unbelievable.
That black children don’t get to be children, as Stacey Patton reminded in an op-ed for The Post last November, is as enraging as it is heartbreaking. The Cleveland response to the Rice family lawsuit is but further proof that African American men and boys must live their lives beyond reproach, devoid of mistakes and bad choices at any age, if they are to avoid being blamed for their own death.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj