December 28, 2015

"No charges for Cleveland police officers in shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice."

WaPo reports. 
“The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it,” [Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty] said. “Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.... The death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy but it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime...”

95 comments:

EDH said...

Wrongful death due to negligence but not criminal.

They pulled the police car too close to the suspect to execute a careful approach.

Achilles said...

If I remember correctly this is the case where 2 police officers drove through a park and shot a kid from their car after he had been playing with an airsoft/bb gun in a park for 45 minutes.

If so I would like to know if there were demotions, firings, and changes in tactics made at the department level. What happened on that video was a complete failure and there had better be consequences. If there were proper tactics and policies in place there should be charges.

Brando said...

This killing was obviously tragic, but I can see where the cops having no reason to believe it was a toy gun--and in such active shooter situations, having to react in a flash--and opening fire. It sucks, as a kid died and the cops have to live with this, but unless there was some "more reasonable" thing the police could have done I don't see any other outcome. At a young age everyone (white and black) needs to know how not to act in front of the police (who have no way of knowing you're not a threat) but misunderstandings like this can happen to anyone.

I'm not sure what the protesters would prefer--the cops to wait a little longer, giving a real shooter time to aim at them? Always do a warning shot, even though outside of TV shows a warning shot is a terrible idea?--but sometimes you just have to chalk things up under awful things happening.

Fernandinande said...

“The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it, ... but it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime...”

Who would be cheered if someone was charged despite there being no crime?

madAsHell said...

If they burn down Cleveland......will anyone notice?

AlbertAnonymous said...

Can an outcome clap? or hoot and holler? How can an outcome "cheer" someone?

damikesc said...

This verdict seems sketchy. The cops seemed REALLY quick on the trigger. Did they even order him to drop a gun or get on the ground?

jr565 said...

Of course there were no charges. Because there was no case there. The prosecutor went out of her way to turn this into a political event to appease the Black Lives Matter crowd, and now she has major egg on her face.
She should be fired, or be forced to step down, or resign to save face.
Whatever is required so that she no longer prosecutes people. Because she has seriously abused her position, and now needs to suffer the consequences.

jr565 said...

Whoops, I thought this was for the other incident involving the cop getting off for the death of Freddie Gray. That'll teach me not to read the headline fully.
Still, there was no case there. Tamir had a replica pistol waving it around. He then looked like he went for his waist when cops told him to drop the gun or to get down. Cops can kill someone, but if they had reasonable fear for their life, their shootings can be considered justified.
This seems to have been one of those scenarios.

Charles said...

"damikesc said...
This verdict seems sketchy. The cops seemed REALLY quick on the trigger. Did they even order him to drop a gun or get on the ground?"

This was not a verdict of a Jury but a declination to proffer charges as they state there was no crime. If an Officer thinks that are in immediate danger they have no obligation to command you to stand down, nor should they

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

If they burn down Cleveland......will anyone notice?

Local real estate values will go up.

garage mahal said...

It's too bad. But....!!!!!!

jr565 said...

"Who would be cheered if someone was charged despite there being no crime?"
Me, me... The black lives matter crowd?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Lots of miscalculations here, the definitive one being Tamir's final one - deciding to make something that was not a real gun, look like a real gun.

The Drill SGT said...

Given that people in the area reported "man with a gun, waving it around and threatening folks" as well as "possible fake gun"

and the dispatcher gave them the first part but not the second

The cops rolled up and the "man" tried to pull the "gun"

too bad so sad.

The cops don't need to make a perfect split second decision. They just need to make a "reasonable" one. Shooting an apparent man with an apparent gun who threatened them is reasonable.

JCC said...

A caller said there was a young man with a gun, possibly a replica. The dispatched call left out that qualifier, and only said "man with a gun." The senior officer, driving the car, pulled up way too close, placing the passenger officer directly in the line of fire with no place to seek cover, and the teenager can be seen on the video actually reaching for the toy airsoft gun. Who knows what he was thinking (throw it away? show it to the cops?) The rookie passenger had only several seconds to process what he was seeing and react in self-defense. A more experienced officer may have waited, but that's not the test for lawful exercise of force. It's "was the use of force reasonable as seen through the eyes of the officer using the force?"

The answer in this case was an obvious and resounding yes, reasonable, even if caused by the sloppy tactics of another officer.

This was a foregone conclusion once the tape was made public.

Michael McClain said...

Lesson learned: When you are directed by people with real guns to drop a fake gun, you should immediately drop your fake gun.

Darwin's Law at work.

Joshua Barker said...

If the officers themselves are not to blame, then the department and the mayor should be, and the policies should be changed... If nothing changes, then it is up to the citizens to vote them out of power... if they don't, then they get the government they deserve...

garage mahal said...

Lots of miscalculations here, the definitive one being Tamir's final one - deciding to make something that was not a real gun, look like a real gun.

So open carry is probable cause to open fire eh? I'll have to remember that.

Char Char Binks said...

The cop had to make a split-second decision. They don't have time to wait to get shot a few times to figure out if the gun is real or not. How long would you wait?

vanderleun said...

Cure the mob.

Char Char Binks said...

Fernandinande said...
“The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it, ... but it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime...”

Who would be cheered if someone was charged despite there being no crime?"

Those more concerned with social justice than actual justice.

Thorley Winston said...

In a situation like this, I tend to apportion blame based on whose wrongful actions started the chain of events that lead to the death. In this case, I’d start with whoever decided that it was a good idea to remove the orange safety cap that lets people know that it’s not a real gun that’s being waived at them in a public park. Perhaps the police could have approached things differently but they wouldn’t have had to be there at all if the decedent had exercised common sense. And if he was incapable of doing so, then the blame rests with his parents who are responsible for his conduct when he’s out in public. His death is a tragedy but one that was primarily of his own making and while I can sympathize with his family who had to bury a child, they shouldn’t collect a dime.

mccullough said...

As long as citizens can fire at others, including the police, when they are reasonably afraid for their lives, I'm okay with this decision. So if the police knock down someone's door and that person shoots because they don't know it is the police or if an undercover officer pulls out a gun or if a cop believed to be corrupt pulls his weapon, etc., then a lawful gun owner should be able to kill them without prosecution.

Bruce Hayden said...

So open carry is probable cause to open fire eh? I'll have to remember that.

Sorry - but sticking a gun down your pants is not open carry. Rather, it is still considered concealed carry, and you had better have a permit in most states, or expect to go to jail if caught by the police. And, of course, you aren't going to get a permit for concealed carry until you are a bit older. Here, actual open carry might have saved the kid's life, since then the cops can better see the gun, and see that he was (probably in this case) or was not going for the gun.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that it was tragic all the way around. But, someone should have beat it into this kid that if you act like a gang banger with a gun, you will be treated as such by the police, who will draw down on you, and will shoot to kill. Yes, the 911 operator should probably have passed onto the cops that it might be a fake gun, and that the suspect might be a kid. She didn't. He was big enough to be an adult (despite being so young), and the fake gun looked like a real one. And, yes, remember that they are unionized government employees, so act accordingly. And, yes, the driver probably pulled up too close. But, when the kid tried to pull out his (fake) gun, instead of complying with the cops' orders, he was essentially ordering his own execution, and the only think that could save him at that point was the lousy marksmanship that cops often show. Unfortunately for him, one shot, center of mass, was all it took to kill him.

This was a classic case of self-defense. The cop had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury from this suspect at the time of the shooting. They had heard over the radio that the suspect was armed, and then he appeared to be going for his gun. Unless it is a cop going for this gun (and you shoot him), it is almost always self-defense to shoot first in such a situation.

ken in tx said...

I don't know, but I'll bet it is against the law to modify a toy gun to make it look like a real one. If not, why not?

SJ said...

@garage,

can you explain the difference between "open carry of a firearm" and "brandishing a firearm" ?

Admittedly, if an open-carrier has a rifle or shotgun on a sling, it might be hard to tell...but if they have a pistol in a holster at their hip, it should be pretty easy to tell.

walter said...

"And, yes, the driver probably pulled up too close."

Looked suicidal, actually.

EMD said...

"This was a classic case of self-defense. The cop had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury from this suspect at the time of the shooting. "

Did you NOT see the video? He was firing before he was out of the fucking car.

mccullough said...

Bruce Hayden,

I don't understand why a cop who mistakenly goes for his gun shouldn't be shot. If an armed bystander nearby who knew the kid had a toy gun shot the police officer in defense of the kid, that should be justifiable defense of others.

The police often make mistakes. If they mistakenly shoot or point their gun at innocent people, they should be shot as well. And we all should all accept that as the law, too.

cubanbob said...

While judging from the facts as reported it seems the cops were justified in self-defense it is sad that our society has become such that an almost combat reaction is acceptable for those in charge of enforcing the law instead of some reflection on whether to use deadly force.

Jason said...

Garage: So open carry is probable cause to open fire, eh? I'll have to remember that.

The amazing thing about Garage Mahal is that every time I think he's reached the highest pinnacle of human stupidity, he somehow manages to find a way to scale new heights.

Bravo.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Instead of a system where bad people have to do the right thing, let us speak of the institutions opposite.

Dead kid?

Oh, you got scared?

No worries.

Achilles said...

When garage makes a cogent point on a thread and you are unable to argue the point you really, really, really need to analyze your paradigm.

The police were grossly out of line. They rolled up in a car and shot a kid who had been playing for 45 minutes with a bb gun in a park. You can't seriously think this is appropriate use of the state monopoly on power. Every person carrying a weapon open or concealed would have to be worried.

This was a failure at every level from parents to officers to the administrative apparatus. A lot of people need to be fired.

JCC said...

@ Joshua -

"....If the officers themselves are not to blame, then the department and the mayor should be, and the policies should be changed..."

This situation wasn't governed by policy, but rather by statute and case law. I'm not sure how anyone - cops, mayor, department - could have altered this in a predictable fashion. True, the driver rushed in and stopped too close to the kid, but that might have resulted in both cops getting shot had Tamir been in possession of a real firearm. I know what happened though; the driver had target fixation, saw the kid and drove right up on top of him before it occurred to the driver that neither occupant had anywhere to go and were both - in effect - sitting ducks in that police car. But that's just a typical human reaction to an abnormal stimulus.

So what change did you have in mind? Don't defend yourself? Wait until someone else shoots first? Don't respond to calls from citizens about other citizens with guns, because someone might get hurt? What exactly would you do to prevent something like this in the future? Other than changing human nature, making cops completely error-proof, of course?

Drago said...

garage: "I'll have to remember that."

If you did "remember that", it would be a first.

jr565 said...

Achilles wrote:
When garage makes a cogent point on a thread and you are unable to argue the point you really, really, really need to analyze your paradigm.

The police were grossly out of line. They rolled up in a car and shot a kid who had been playing for 45 minutes with a bb gun in a park. You can't seriously think this is appropriate use of the state monopoly on power. Every person carrying a weapon open or concealed would have to be worried.

This was a failure at every level from parents to officers to the administrative apparatus. A lot of people need to be fired.

right. Cops being told someone had a gun and is waving it around should not be construed as an appropriate use of state monopoly on power when they are called to investigate.
Nope. Nothing to see there. Call the cops when it's something a little more serious before calling 9/11.

And open carry is a law on the books. Did this city have open Carry laws? If not, then people with open carry should definitely be worried since they can't actually open carry. Cops would roll up on them too, since they aren't supposed to be carrying around guns.
If there were open carry are they waving their gun around and pointing it at people in the park. Again, cops are going to be called.

It's kind of silly making a point about open carry when such laws do not exist in the area where the incident occurred.

If there were open carry laws, and this kid had a permit, wasn't waving his gun around and didn't go for his waist when cops rolled up, then YES, people carrying openly might have cause to be worried by this cops actions. However, none of those situations actually happened. So, quit comparing apples to guacamole.

jr565 said...

Blame the dispatcher for this,incident. He never told the cops the gun was reportedly potentially fake AND said the suspect was 20.

CLEVELAND - Cleveland Police officers who responded to a call about a male with a gun that led to a 12-year-old being fatally shot were not told that the 911 caller said it might be fake.

In dispatch audio recorded between 3:24 p.m. and 3:34 p.m., the dispatcher never told officers that the gun may be fake or that the suspect was a juvenile.


“I’ve got a code 1, if anybody can break at Cudell. In the park by the youth center, there’s supposed to be a male sitting on the swings, POINTING A GUN AT PEOPLE," said a dispatcher in recordings obtained by newsnet5.com.

In a 911 call released Sunday, a man called to report that a male was pointing the gun at people and added that was "probably fake." The caller states a child is "pulling a gun in and out of his pants and pointing it at people."

The man described the child as black, wearing a camouflage hat and a grey jacket with black sleeves.

"There's a guy in there with a pistol, you know, it's probably fake, but he's like pointing it at everybody," the caller can be heard saying. "He's sitting on a swing right now, but he's pulling it in and out of his pants and pointing it at people," the caller explained. "He's probably a juvenile, you know?"

Cleveland apparently does have concealed carry laws. But, people with permit's should not be taking their gun out pointing it at people. If cops get a call that someone is pointing guns at people,and aren't told the kid may be a juvenile and that the gun may be fake, they are operating under an assumption based on the info they have. It is not wrong then for them to assume that the person going for his waistband may have a gun.

I dont get how the person who reported this knew that the gun was "probably" fake. Since it was a replica and replica's look real. Cops will not make an assumption that a person pointing a gun probably has a fake one, just because it's reported that way.
But in any case, it wasn't reported that way to the cops. It was reported as a male pointing his gun at people.
Tragic accident, but this is why no charges were in fact filed.

Birches said...

Just because the cops weren't charged doesn't mean that Rice's family isn't being served justice. I imagine they'll get a couple of million dollars for the fact that their son wasn't carrying a real weapon.

jr565 said...

"They rolled up in a car and shot a kid who had been playing for 45 minutes with a bb gun in a park. You can't seriously think this is appropriate use of the state monopoly on power. Every person carrying a weapon open or concealed would have to be worried."
You are arguing from hindsight. Cops don't operate with that knowledge. Now, we can all say how tragic it is that he was shot and killed. But at the time, I it wasn't reported to the cops that a kid was playing with a BB gun. They were operating under premise that person had gun and was pointing it at people.

Bruce Hayden said...

The police were grossly out of line. They rolled up in a car and shot a kid who had been playing for 45 minutes with a bb gun in a park. You can't seriously think this is appropriate use of the state monopoly on power. Every person carrying a weapon open or concealed would have to be worried.

The problem was that it apparently looked to the cops like he was drawing his gun out of the waistband of his pants, after they had heard over their radios that he had a gun. The big thing to know here, and which is taught in a lot of firearms classes, is never draw on a policeman, or even look like you are drawing a firearm to them. Instead of moving your hand toward your firearm, you should spread them out away from your body. Just like you should have your hands on the wheel when they pull you over when driving. You want to minimize tensions, minimize their fears, not increase them. And, this is a good example of why.

I don't understand why a cop who mistakenly goes for his gun shouldn't be shot. If an armed bystander nearby who knew the kid had a toy gun shot the police officer in defense of the kid, that should be justifiable defense of others.

The police often make mistakes. If they mistakenly shoot or point their gun at innocent people, they should be shot as well. And we all should all accept that as the law, too.


Maybe in a perfect world, you would be right. But, we don't live in such. But, in the one we live in, we have made a value decision that we would rather police step into the line of fire, instead of waiting to make sure. For every kid like this who dies this way, there are a number of people who live because the police rushed in when they were needed. After a long decline, there was a big jump in violent crimes this year, and much of it can be attributed to the "Ferguson Effect", where the police are not rushing in, and the criminals know it. The harder you make a cop's job, the less likely he will be to put his own life in danger. Just human nature, augmented by police being unionized government employees.

To some extent, this is done by making some assumptions/presumptions. One is that it isn't reasonable to believe that police are going to act illegally when pointing a gun at someone. They are almost inevitably assumed to have been the innocent party, which means that anyone shooting at them is not privileged to do so. Police uniform says that you are presumed to consider them the good guys. And, when you see them arresting someone, drawing their guns, etc. you (legally) need to assume that they are operating legally. Because, as I pointed out above, if you are wrong, if their actions fit into some obscure Supreme Court precedent, then shooting at them is not privileged, and if you kill one of them, you will most likely be going to prison for an extended period of time, no matter how good your story is. So, just don't do it. And, if they were operating illegally, you have plenty of time to bring them to justice. But, most often, they were operating legally.

Achilles said...

JCC said...

"So what change did you have in mind? Don't defend yourself? Wait until someone else shoots first? Don't respond to calls from citizens about other citizens with guns, because someone might get hurt? What exactly would you do to prevent something like this in the future? Other than changing human nature, making cops completely error-proof, of course?"

How about by the police officers not being absolutely fucking retarded. Then after being retarded don't multiply your stupidity by shooting a kid who you later find out has a BB Gun.

If that was a real shooter with a real gun both officers were sitting ducks and would be dead. Once they made the decision to drive up in an unarmored vehicle into a potentially live shooter situation there was no possible good outcome. As it is they were forced to make a split second decision that was totally unnecessary and they made the wrong call because they were poorly trained and over reacted.

They should have cleared the area and approached the objective from covered positions with overwhelming force. 4 to 1 is minimum and it should be 9 to 1. When you approach with overwhelming force it gives you the space to make better decisions. With proper tactics they should be able to discern whether it is a kid with a BB gun and retarded parents. There is no reason in a free society like we purport to be that the police act in such an incompetent manner that ends up with kids getting shot in parks like this.

Bruce Hayden said...

An interesting article from (of all places) Slate: Tamir Rice's Death Resulted From "Officer-Created Jeopardy." So Why Were No Officers Indicted?

Part of the interest is that it points out that the higher court precedent, starting at the Supreme Court is a muddle, and part of it revolves around whether it is better to view use of force by officers from a holistic point of view, or from a last frame point of view. This case was essentially decided utilizing the latter - at the point that lethal force was applied, was it justified at that instant? Rice appeared to be drawing a firearm from his waistband, and that is probably sufficient. But, one of the problems with that legal theory or policy is that it allows the police to get themselves into bad situations, then shoot their way out. And, that may have happened here, with the two officers driving up much too close to the suspect. If they had stopped a bit further back, they may have had a better chance to work through this issue, instead of immediately being under what they (probably) reasonably believed to be a deadly threat. It may not have been a deadly threat if they had parked a bit further away, and had had an opportunity to approach the suspect slowly on foot.

Jason said...

No, I'm not blaming the cops for this one. This is ALL on the stupid kid. This one isn't even close. Just because nobody likes the outcome doesn't mean the cops acted criminally.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
No cop is obligated to give someone, of ANY age, a free shot at them.

Garage's point wasn't "cogent." It's stupid on multiple levels here. As is par for the course for him.

"Probable cause" doesn't mean what he thinks it means, and "open carry" doesn't mean "brandishing."

Achilles said...

This situation also brings up the point that our "law enforcement" personal spend way too much time running around giving law abiding citizens tickets for speeding or parking wrong while they should be out being peace officers and dealing competently with situations like this.

Terry said...

Achilles wrote:
"You can't seriously think this is appropriate use of the state monopoly on power."
That wasn't the question the jurors were supposed to answer.

Fen said...

The 911 calls reported Tamir was pointing a gun at people.

Legal Insurrection has the video.

He was a punk ass wannabe thug. It's good that he's dead.

David Begley said...

How can MSNBC whip this into more tragedy? Too bad Maddow and Hayes on vacation in Cuba.

Michael K said...

"a kid who you later find out has a BB Gun."

Speaking of retarded.

Then there is this set of facts.

Back when the only state policemen carrying autoloaders were those in Illinois, with all the rest packing six-shooters, Illinois State Trooper Ken Kaas got into a shootout with a gunman armed with a semi-automatic shotgun. Each was using his vehicle, successfully, for cover. Midway through the firefight, the gunman suddenly stood up and left his cover, rushing toward. Trooper Kaaswith his shotgun up and a wolfish grin on his face. Ken shot him in the midriff and the criminal fell. It was over.

The suspect survived. In the “prison ward” of the hospital, guards overheard him talking with his appointed attorney. The exasperated lawyer asked him why he had left a position of safety to practically walk into the muzzle of the trooper’s waiting gun. “He fired six shots!” the recovering would-be cop-killer exclaimed. “I swear to God!

He fired all six!”


As carefully as he kept count, the criminal didn’t know that Illinois troopers carried Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatics. Ken had shot him down with the seventh round in his Model 39, most certainly averting his own death, since the trooper could never have reloaded an empty six-shot revolver fast enough to stop the deadly charge.

Retarded doesn't quite cover it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Just because the cops weren't charged doesn't mean that Rice's family isn't being served justice. I imagine they'll get a couple of million dollars for the fact that their son wasn't carrying a real weapon.

Maybe. If anyone besides the parents of this poor kid screwed up, it was the legal system. No single person, but rather, the bureaucratic system screwing up. The 911 operator may have screwed up by not including the information in the radio call that the gun may be a fake and the suspect a juvenile. Absent that information, the police were fully entitled to believe that a person the size of a short, but hefty, adult was pulling a gun on them. But, that lack by the 911 operator was probably not criminal. And, the cops probably rolled in too close, and if they had stopped a bit further away, they might have considered themselves to have had more time. Again, not criminal negligence, but maybe a little simple (tort) negligence. The problem with criminal law here is that absent collusion, the potential suspects in a criminal investigation have to be taken one by one. And, one-by-one means that any trial of one of them has to assume that the cops only knew that this person was repeatedly pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people. And, then when he started to do so with the cops, they not surprisingly, beat him to the draw (esp. since the victim didn't think that his life depended on beating the cops to the draw). So, the "system" can be sued, and the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, as contrasted to a criminal trial where the system cannot be put on trial, and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

BTW - if you want to further see the problems with trying individual officers for what might have been systematic errors, look at the Freddie Gray related trials in Baltimore. The prosecutors tried Officer Porter first, because he was key to the other prosecutions, and they were expecting to use him in the subsequent trials, after jeopardy had attached in his case, so there (probably) not have been any 5th Amdt. issues. Except they got a mistrial, and the other trials had already been scheduled. So, the retrial is now scheduled for this summer, after the other trials have taken place. And, he will likely not be available to be questioned on the stand to set the stage for the trials of the other officers thanks to his 5th Amdt. right against self-incrimination (leaving only his testimony in the first trial). My guess is that this means none of the other officers will be convicted.

Bruce Hayden said...

This situation also brings up the point that our "law enforcement" personal spend way too much time running around giving law abiding citizens tickets for speeding or parking wrong while they should be out being peace officers and dealing competently with situations like this.

Well, maybe. The problem is that a lot of cities are now funding their operations this way, and police are turned from a cost center into a revenue center this way. This is esp. pernicious in cities with declining revenue bases. Making things worse, many of these cities are heavily indebted for unfunded pension liabilities. So, they have increasing pension costs, and declining tax revenue bases as people flee the increasing taxes. The best way they see to fill this funding hole is through enforcing a lot of quality of life fees and tickets, ranging from traffic tickets to ticketing people for selling single cigarettes, etc. Unfortunately, this burden falls heaviest on the demographic least able to pay these fees and tickets - the inner city poor, which is why we have seen so much of this as the BLM movement has grown.

Michael K said...

"The problem is that a lot of cities are now funding their operations this way, and police are turned from a cost center into a revenue center this way."

That was probably at the center of the Ferguson thing. Not the shooting but the reaction.

Arizona used to have a Democrat Governor, Napolitano, and she ratcheted up speeding tickets to fund the budget. She is gone, there is a Republican governor and speeding tickets have gone back to enforcement of law and not revenue source.

"this means none of the other officers will be convicted."

Probably not a justifiable assumption with that Democrat city. If they are acquitted, assume a DoJ prosecution by Lynch.

MayBee said...

If it is ok for the cops to shoot anyone they think might have a gun and about to pull it on them, then we are all legitimate targets.

khesanh0802 said...

@Achilles I think your analysis is the best. Very poor tactics by the cops that led to a certain screw up. It would seem that the dispatcher did not act appropriately because he/she knew it was a kid and probably a fake. Failure to communicate led to the driver approaching too aggressively and the rest is history.

In concealed carry classes it is emphasized that if you are carrying and approached by a cop you keep you hands clear, tell the cop you are carrying, where the weapon is holstered and where your carry permit is. You do not move until directed by the cops.

SeanF said...

Michael K: Ken had shot him down with the seventh round in his Model 39, most certainly averting his own death, since the trooper could never have reloaded an empty six-shot revolver fast enough to stop the deadly charge.

They make what are called speed-loaders for revolvers. My dad had them when he was a cop back in the day. With training, you can empty and reload a revolver almost as quickly as you can eject the magazine from a semi-auto pistol and replace it with a new one.

Which doesn't make the criminal in your example any less of an idiot, of course. :)

MadisonMan said...

A lot of people need to be fired

Bureaucrats are never fired because they are never accountable for their actions, as they're just "following policy".

If I'm in Cleveland, I'm not calling the Police if I see a kid with a gun, real or fake, that's for sure. Who wants to start the chain of misadventures that ends in a kid's death?

Bruce Hayden said...

If it is ok for the cops to shoot anyone they think might have a gun and about to pull it on them, then we are all legitimate targets.

The problem is that their fear has to be reasonable. And, that usually means that the person they shot had to have something on him that appears to be a firearm. And, carrying a spare throwaway gun just for this sort of thing doesn't work as well these days with fingerprints and DNA testing. Now, this isn't a problem with Rice here, since he was actually carrying something that looks an awful lot like a semiautomatic handgun (the Airsoft gun, which is a replica of such).

walter said...

Blogger Fen
Legal Insurrection has the video.
---
Yep.here
Early in the clip the kid points the gun point blank at a pedestrian and they don't seem to panic, speed up etc. Although they are blurred out so hard to know. There is also a person sitting at a bench in the background who later leaves.
shooting occurs around 7 minutes into that.
Why anyone would drive up that close when it looks like its a pretty vacant park..

MayBee said...

And, that usually means that the person they shot had to have something on him that appears to be a firearm.

Except for Laquan McDonald. Sure, the officer is now being charged, a year later.
And the guy with the baseball bat and the grandma they shot here in Chicago on Christmas day.
And the two Asian ladies in a truck in LA when they were looking for Dornan.
And John Winkler whose circumstances were a little different, but he was a hostage who was shot "accidentally" when the LA cops thought he was the hostage-taker.

There's an epidemic of shoot first, figure out what's going on later going on. And it makes us unsafe.

What can "appear" to be a gun can be anything these days. We have to hold cops to a higher standard other than, "Someone might not be going home tonight, and I want to be going home". Even if it isn't a criminal standard. We can't keep excusing it.

In the Tamir Rice case, there was no reason for the cop to put themselves so close to him that they feared for their lives before they could assess the situation.

jr565 said...

Here is a picture of the gun that He had versus the actual gun. can anyone note the difference?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3377431/Is-picture-convinced-grand-jury-not-charge-Tamir-Rice-s-killers-Photo-compares-12-year-old-s-toy-gun-real-weapon-John-Legend-leads-celebrity-outrage-decision.html

"What can "appear" to be a gun can be anything these days. We have to hold cops to a higher standard other than, "Someone might not be going home tonight, and I want to be going home". Even if it isn't a criminal standard. We can't keep excusing it."

But cops should not be expected to work out what appears to be a gun not in fact being one when they are faced with that scenario. The standard is, based on the info cops had at the time, was it reasonable to assume they had fear for their life, thus justifying the use of force.

Can you figure out which is the replica and which is the real gun? Could you figre it out if someone was standing ten feet away and reaching for their waist band?

Didn't think so, Maybee.



john mosby said...

@Bruce Hayden ref officer-created jeopardy:

The problem I see with looking at more than just the last frame of the tape is that it creates a question with no good answer.

Namely, what is the officer supposed to do if she realizes, just before the last frame, that she put herself in danger four or five frames ago?

Does she just accept death/SBH to herself as her proper portion for incompetence?

This is what we expect of a criminal whose life is threatened by the victim; for example, a burglar is surprised by a gun-wielding homeowner. If the burglar pulls his own gun and shoots the homeowner, the burglar has just committed murder. But it was the crime of burglary that got him to that point.

The cop who creates her own danger, on the other hand, was, however incompetently, trying to enforce the law. She may even have been trying to defend others in real time (not just in the abstract of 'keeping the peace').

To tell her "sorry, sweetie, you zigged instead of zagged, mashed the accelerator a tad much, etc. Now your choices are death or prison," doesn't seem to be a great policy prescription. And it also seems to run against the grain of the common law of self defense.

JSM

jr565 said...

"The cop who creates her own danger, on the other hand, was, however incompetently, trying to enforce the law. She may even have been trying to defend others in real time (not just in the abstract of 'keeping the peace').

To tell her "sorry, sweetie, you zigged instead of zagged, mashed the accelerator a tad much, etc. Now your choices are death or prison," doesn't seem to be a great policy prescription. And it also seems to run against the grain of the common law of self defense."

And if a cop pulls up too close, its not ILLEGAL. It just MAY be a bad judgement call. I don't know if it IS, or is being perceived that way after the fact. Surely cops can make mistakes that put their lives more in danger, that in retrospect are bad choices for the scenario. They are not illegal choices. As you say, having made them it doesn't mean they can't draw their gun if they fear their life is in danger.
Those suggesting otherwise are really making a silly argument.

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
Except for Laquan McDonald. Sure, the officer is now being charged, a year later.
And the guy with the baseball bat and the grandma they shot here in Chicago on Christmas day.
And the two Asian ladies in a truck in LA when they were looking for Dornan.
And John Winkler whose circumstances were a little different, but he was a hostage who was shot "accidentally" when the LA cops thought he was the hostage-taker.

There's an epidemic of shoot first, figure out what's going on later going on. And it makes us unsafe.

That is not an "epidemic". but if they are isolated incidents where the cops made mistakes or commited crimes, that's what we have grand juries for. in the case of Laquan, the cop is being charged with murder.

If you look at any profession there will be mistakes made. If we looked at all doctors and then found the times where doctors commited errors, it doesn't mean that all or even most doctors are complicit in the crimes/mistakes of the doctors that did. Doctors and cops, unlike you and I are put in scenarios where people's lives are in the balance. If they make a mistake people can end up dead. Statistically this will happen, because no one is perfect. The question is though, did the doctor or policeman make the right call depending on the circumstances they had in front of them. Not that the person died.
If negligence is assignable, they should certainly face punishment. But just because someone dies doesnt' mean that negligence was assignable. I do not expect cops or doctors to have perfect records, since they are humans like everyone else.

walter said...

I guess his aim is better at point blank:
Officer who shot Tamir Rice found unfit by previous department

MayBee said...

The question is though, did the doctor or policeman make the right call depending on the circumstances they had in front of them. Not that the person died.

Right.
And because they can kill people, they have to be held to a higher standard to do their job right.
"I didn't take time to assess the situation before I shot someone dead but I didn't want to die" is really no standard at all. It makes us all valid targets. And I don't support that.

Birches said...

I agree with Maybee and I agree with jr565, which is why I think a financial settlement is more appropriate than a Criminal conviction.

walter said...

Hey..the guys might have been a bit worked up talking about relationship issues...a little edgy..anxious. Shit happens.
Dunno..I'd like to know more about the guy's rally from unfit for target range to rolling up on that kid.

Bruce Hayden said...

JR565 - the comparison is a bit unfair. The bottom gun is probably a military surplus 1911. The one on the top is a replica of a more modern 1911 class firearm. A lot of little differences, but mostly just a function of being more modern. Thus, for example, it has a rail/adaptor right in front of the trigger guard that would take a light or laser. That is something that a lot of really modern firearms have, but not a gun as old as the bottom one, which is probably comparable to what was used in WW II. The top one also has more modern trigger, hammer, and sights. The point is that there are real guns out there that are being sold as new today that are closer to the replica than the actual 1911 on the bottom, so close that it would be almost impossible to tell them apart without actually inspecting them by hand.

Still, I dare anyone here to be able to tell whether or not the top gun shown is real or a replica without actually inspecting it. Definitely not the cops who rolled in their in response to a radio call to investigate someone pulling a gun and pointing it at people.

Bruce Hayden said...

If you look at any profession there will be mistakes made. If we looked at all doctors and then found the times where doctors commited errors, it doesn't mean that all or even most doctors are complicit in the crimes/mistakes of the doctors that did.

Of course, Doctors kill many more people a year with their screw-ups than do cops. Orders of magnitude. We just accept the cost of their malpractice as the cost of having medical system that will save most of us most of the time.

john mosby said...

@Mr Hayden again, ref doctors compared to cops: I would add that doctors almost never risk their own lives. The doc who's led herself down a garden path of bad decisions generally does not face a fork in the path with her death at the end of it. (In the case of a combative or other actively-threatening patient, what does the doc do? She calls the police!) Also, nearly all doctors are trying to save the patient's life (other than situations, eg conjoined twins, childbirth complications, or mass-casualty triage situations, where two or more patients compete for the doc's attention and she may have to make some double-effect decision to save one patient by risking another).

In contrast, the cop, by definition of the job, is there to apply or at least threaten force and harm to the "patient."

Yet we scream bloody murder when cops actually kill people, and settle medical deaths with monetary awards, if the doc's lawyers aren't able to hand-wave away the problem with magic words like "state of the profession," "consented to experimental treatment," etc.

I think part of the difference is that doctors have maintained control of their own profession: the AMA, licensing boards, medical school accreditation, etc. All of these are run by doctors. The expert witnesses at trial who explain the professional standards for doctors are doctors. Even when a jury or judge makes the final decision, they have been guided there by doctors.

Cops, on the other hand, don't seem to have as much success in defining the terms of the discussion of their profession. Part of it may be because street fights are spectator sports: everyone's an armchair quarterback. Another part is because law enforcement is seen as a lower-skilled subsidiary of the legal profession, which of course has accomplished the ultimate regulatory capture: lawyers are judged by lawyers, all the way down. Cops are responsible for their actions in a way that lawyers so often are not. See, e.g., my fellow Mosby the Baltimore prosecutor, who initiated drug-corner saturation operations, during one of which Freddie Gray was locked up. Somehow the chain of causation conveniently ends long before it reaches her...

JSM

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
Right.
And because they can kill people, they have to be held to a higher standard to do their job right.
"I didn't take time to assess the situation before I shot someone dead but I didn't want to die" is really no standard at all. It makes us all valid targets. And I don't support that.

higher standard than what? If the person feels they are a threat, that is a standard enough. What you are doing is demanding they are judged after they already commited an act, when all details are known.
Cops don't have the ability to wait till they know with certainty whether something is truly a threat if they think their lives are in danger.

jr565 said...

"Still, I dare anyone here to be able to tell whether or not the top gun shown is real or a replica without actually inspecting it. Definitely not the cops who rolled in their in response to a radio call to investigate someone pulling a gun and pointing it at people."

That's the point. In retrospect, if they have their hands on the guns and can look at it with precisions then sure, you should be able to spot how its actually a replica. But if its in someones waist and they go for it, you can't. And its not reasonable to assume they have to wait until they know. Considering, if they are wrong, they might have a bullet in their brain.

THis conversation actually reminds me of a scene in the Guy Ritchie movie snatch. Two low level incompetent criminals go up to supreme bad ass Vinnie Jones (not sure his characters name in the movie) and try to stick him up by pointing guns at his face.
He remains calm while they point the guns at him and then puts his own gun on the table. He is calm because his gun, which he places on the table, has Desert Eagle on it while theirs has "replica" written on the sides.
He gives them a chance to slink off while he finishes his coffee.

Fictional true. However, he has the luxury of not blasting them because he sees the word "replica" on the side. The movie even does a close up on the gun, In typical Guy Ritchie fashion to show the word "Replicla" plain as day.

No one in real life though is going to see replica written on the gun when the guy is 20 feet away and the gun is in the waistband.
Those arguing that the cop needs to be held accountable are assuming that like Vinnie in the movie, the cops must know the guns are replicas.
But, if Vinnie actually thought they were real guns in the movie, and they didnt' have "replica" written in huge letters on the sides he would have blasted them as soon as they pulled their guns on him. Because he woudnt' actually know they were replicas and he wouldn't take the chance that they might be.

Kyzernick said...

A top-priority Code One radio call comes through.

"In the park by the youth center is a black male sitting on the swings. He is wearing a camouflage hat, a gray jacket with black sleeves. He keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people."

You roll into the scene minutes later. Who knows what has transpired in that park so far? Until another 911 call is made, you won't know about any shots fired unless you can hear them yourself. Your partner pulls up, close - way too close for comfort. You have seen the likely perp through your window already, hard to make out details though but then you're right on top of him, just about, and he's reaching into his waistband as you exit the police car.

Here is an actual case where "Hands up, don't shoot" would have worked. I'd bet money that if Tamir Rice's first reaction had been to put his hands in the air, he'd be alive today. But he did not do that. And he was a young child in a public park waving a realistic Airsoft gun around and menacing others with it, so much so that people called 911 to report it.

Based on the call the police received, based on the situation they stepped into, and based on Tamir Rice's reactions and his decision to chill in the park acting like his BB gun was real, the officer's reaction is perfectly natural and correct.

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
"I didn't take time to assess the situation before I shot someone dead but I didn't want to die" is really no standard at all. It makes us all valid targets. And I don't support that."

How much time do you think a cop should take to assess a situation? How long does it take for someone to go for a gun in their wasteband?
The cops DID assess the situation. The cops thought he was going for a gun, so shot first.
after the dust clears you look at the shooting and ask "Was it reasonable for the cop to use deadly force? If he thought his life was in danger then yes. If not, then no.
The standard is not, WAS THE COPS LIFE IN DANGER. How would a cop be able to ascertain perfect information?

As a hypothetical. suppose someone robs a store with an empty gun. His gun is out. The cop comes into the store and he tells the suspect to drop the gun. Instead the suspect twirls and points the gun in the vicinity of the cop. The cop, seeing the gun shoots him dead.
Is the cop culpable if the guys gun turns out to be empty? Or the gun was a replica?

How could a cop possibly determine the gun wasn't loaded or real in that situation?

walter said...

"Those arguing that the cop needs to be held accountable are assuming that like Vinnie in the movie, the cops must know the guns are replicas. "
Umm..no.

JCC said...

@ Achilles -

"...They should have cleared the area and approached the objective from covered positions with overwhelming force. 4 to 1 is minimum and it should be 9 to 1. When you approach with overwhelming force..." etc

First, cops in big cities get calls like this all the time. You cannot "clear the area" and "approach with overwhelming force". Maybe you didn't understand the part about the dispatcher asking for a unit to clear a current assignment and take this call. They didn't even have one unit available to do it. Someone had to leave what they were doing. Next, did you even bother watching the video before making your judgements? There was no cover anywhere near the young man, exept the police car itself. If the cops stopped too far away, the suspect with the gun could have just run away, maybe run into a school or home full of innocent civilians. True, the driver got too close, but it happens. Cop are human and make mistakes under stress. That's it, stopped too close. So being the armchair expert that you are, you respond with the typical stupid suggestions, assuming that there is always some brilliant response that will nullify tragedy brought on by people simply not obeying the cops' orders to just stand still, don't move, don't carry guns, etc. Why didn't they ask nicely, shoot him in the leg, use a Taser, do some judo thing, endanger themselves by waiting to see if the suspect really had a gun, really was a threat? Yes, we know. You would have do all that.
But you didn't. Because you're not a cop, for whatever reason. You just talk about it. From ignorance, I might add.

@ Maybee -

"...shoot anyone they think might have a gun and about to pull it on them..."

They knew he had a gun and he did pull it on them before the officer shot. Those other incidents don't really matter when deciding about the officer who shot Rice, do they?

Bruce Hayden said...

I will suggest that anyone who is complaining too much about the cops shooting first, and asking questions later should read this article in NRO: The Numbers Are in: Black Lives Matter Is Wrong about Police and the WaPo writeup of the underlying study: A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000. Bottom line? Most police shootings are of armed, or apparently armed, subjects.

Bruce Hayden said...

Just another reminder - it is hard enough telling the difference between a real 1911 handgun and the replica that Rice had down his pants when you have the leisure of looking at them side by side. Asking cops to tell the difference in the heat of the moment is completely unrealistic. Orange barrel rings are mandatory on fake guns for just this reason, but it is missing on the replica being used by Rice. Which means that even an expert on firearms is going to have a problem telling this replica from the real thing in the heat of the moment.

jr565 said...

walter wrote:
Umm..no.

Um... yes. You are suggesting they need to have knowedlge that they wouldn't get until after the fact, and judging them because they didn't.

Douglas said...

EDH nailed it in the first comment. The cop should have been - should be - fired and should never work again as a policeman. His negligence was responsible for this kid's death.

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing that has bothered me the most about this is the question of what Rice thought he was doing that day. And, my guess is that he was practicing to be a gang banger. A gang member. What he appeared to be doing was imitating the way that gang bangers handle their handguns. People who have gone through handgun safety classes, most of those with concealed carry permits, would never do what Rice did that day. First, he put the gun down his pants. That is why holsters were invented, and the stories are rife about gang bangers trying to run, and accidentally dropping the guns they have in their waistbands. It is just a stupid place to stash your handgun. I wouldn't have been surprised if Rice had pointed his gun at people sideways one handed, another stupid thing that gang bangers do. And, no, you don't ever point a gun at someone unless you intend on shooting them. Because, for one thing, if they are innocent, and you point your gun at them, they may be entitled to shoot you dead. This isn't a question of machismo, but rather, that pointing a gun at someone (who is not a cop) places them in reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury - i.e. provides the legal justification for self-defense.

Rice must have seen other black men handling guns that way, either on TV, and/or some of the guys in the neighborhood. I am guessing the latter, but will never know. Point is that he was apparently never taught not to emulate those loser gang bangers whom he was likely imitating that fateful day. I know that at 12, my father would have whooped me good if I had been doing anything like Rice was doing. And, it would have been fully justified, and because of that, I am better than 5 times he age of Rice when he died. Where was his father, or other male authority figure? Why hadn't they taken him in hand, and explained that looking like a gang banger is going to get him treated like such, and if it looked like it involved guns, then that means being shot like an armed gang banger.

MayBee said...

How much time do you think a cop should take to assess a situation? How long does it take for someone to go for a gun in their wasteband?

As I said, if that is legitimate enough for you and the rest of America, then we are all valid targets.

Kyzernick said...

And MayBee, that is correct.

I am white. I am "privileged".

And yet, if I am in a park, pointing a realistic looking Airsoft gun at random people, and cops get a 911 call about it, and the dispatcher never tells the incoming officers that the gun might be - might be - fake, and when they roll up on me I reach into my waistband for that gun, I have earned every gram of lead that's about to be injected into my body.

MayBee said...

might be - fake, and when they roll up on me I reach into my waistband for that gun, I have earned every gram of lead that's about to be injected into my body.

Great.

But I don't.
I want the cops trained to do a better assessment of the situation, because I have no idea why they are rolling up so close to me and shooting 3 seconds later.
This was not a situation where someone had to die. Even if it had been a real gun.

walter said...


Blogger jr565 said...
walter wrote:
Umm..no.

Um... yes. You are suggesting they need to have knowedlge that they wouldn't get until after the fact, and judging them because they didn't.
__
Really? you both are pretty intent on putting words in people's mouths.

walter said...

My apologies..just jr.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

Lots of cop worshippers here.

Fuck the pig. Just because pigs are pussies who "fear for their lives" every time they put on their pussy uniforms doesn't give them the right to kill the rest of us.

If I fear for my life when I see a pig, may I kill him with impunity?

Fuck them. May this asshole burn in hell -- soon -- as he so richly deserves.

JCC said...

@ Douglas -

"The cop should have been - should be - fired...responsible for this kid's death"

I assume you're referring to the driver, right? Google "target fixation" and read, say, the Wikipedia entry. It's well-known and defined, and fits what happened here.

The cop (driver) saw the kid who matched whatever description they had, completely focused on him and lost track of where the vehicle was. Period. It happens. It certainly contributed to what happened, but the bottom line? When told 'Don't move', he moved, and in fact, tried to pull the replica firearm. Had the youngster just stood still, or even run away without touching the sham gun, no one would have been hurt. It was the appearance of the fake gun that triggered the deadly force, nothing else. Even if the officers had stopped some further distance away, and the kid pulled his gun, the situation may well have ended up quite the same. The shorter distance simply increased the high probability to a certainty.

@ Maybee -

"...we are all valid targets..."

That unnecessary drama aside, this is quite untrue unless you pull a gun on a cop, whether genuine or realistic fake.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I understand that Tamir Rice was 192 lb and about 6' tall. If that's so, I can see someone not immediately taking him for a 12-year-old.

Me (nasty vein), I'd advise all white cops to quit, and all white would-be cops to seek other work. Let black cops make every nasty call. Let it be only black cops whose asses are on the line when "Black Lives Matter." Let them see exactly how much they want to police the dodgier neighborhoods; let them see exactly whom they'd stop and frisk. I think -- I certainly hope -- that they'd see some of the point of the policies they'd left behind.

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
How much time do you think a cop should take to assess a situation? How long does it take for someone to go for a gun in their wasteband?

As I said, if that is legitimate enough for you and the rest of America, then we are all valid targets.

then don't go for your waist when they tell you to raise your hands.

Achilles said...

JCC said...
@ Achilles -

"But you didn't. Because you're not a cop, for whatever reason. You just talk about it. From ignorance, I might add."

I was not a cop, I was in the army. I was in similar situations to this on deployment and in training hundreds of times.

These cops were fucking idiots. Their vehicle wasn't armored. While they drove up in a car if it was a real live shooter they were sitting ducks. If they were in an up-armored humvee go for it. Use the vehicle as an initiation device to disrupt the target. But they weren't. They were in a cop car and they put themselves in a situation where their lives would be in danger and forced themselves to have to shoot a kid with an airsoft gun.

If they are at a minimum trained with their weapons they should be able to hit a man sized target from 50 feet at least. It was a park and not all that crowded looking at the video. Park the car and approach on foot. From a distance they can observe the situation and if the target isn't shooting people call in another unit so there are at least 4 officers on site.

For fucks sake you people would let the police act like untrained fools and put themselves in ridiculous situations and shoot anyone they wanted. Do you not understand what kind of danger it puts those of us who carry guns in?

Sometimes it just seems like "conservatives" really want a police state.

JCC said...

@ Achilles -

Sorry, but you're not dealing with the reality on the ground. There is no "call in another unit" guarantee. There is no allowance for approaching on foot and potentially allowing a suspect to run into an area with civilians. You deal with the suspect when and where you encounter him. Yes, they got too close, but no, that doesn't make them effing idiots. It makes one of them prone to error under stress, this one event. And sorry, but cops don't engage with handguns at 50 feet. Not voluntarily anyway. That would be, in your words, effing stupid.

In the military, it's top-down direction of a unit. In law enforcement, it's bottom-up independent action almost always, at least until the smoke clears. I've done both. Big difference.

How did we get from a cop shooting someone who pulled a toy gun to wanting a police state? A little hyperbole mayhaps? And you're not in any danger while you carry unless you pull that firearm on a cop, at least from anything apparent in this incident.

I'm not denying that there are no stupid cops out there. But unless you compound that with some stupidity of your own, you'll be OK.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Michelle - His height was, I believe, 5'3", but you got the weight about right. My guess is that if Rice had lived, he would have been as big as Big Mike Brown, of Ferguson fame, by the time he was an adult (6'3", almost 300 lbs - easily big enough to play line in Div. 3 football in college)

@MayBee - No - because most of us wouldn't appear to the cops like we were drawing down on them. Dispatcher had told the officers that the suspect had a gun and had been pulling it out of his pants and been pointing it at people. That was what was known to the responding officers. Then, they see the guy start pulling a gun out of his pants. That was Rice's fatal mistake - you don't draw down on police. If you see them rolling up, you don't pull a gun out of your pants. Their first thought, esp. with the information they had from the dispatcher, was that this almost adult sized guy was pulling a gun from his pants. And why would he do so, seeing the cops? Obviously, to shoot them. Kinda like the Freddie Gray case, where he saw the cops, and responded by trying to run away. They had enough reasonable suspicion from his fleeing to justify questioning him, and that allowed them to perform a Terry Stop, checking him for weapons, and then arresting him for having an illegal knife (under Baltimore law). As I pointed out above, when cops show up, the last thing you want to do is go for your gun. Which is precisely what Rice did. Go in a good sporting goods store, and look at the Airsoft handguns, and a lot of them are modeled on real firearms (which this one probably was). And, you can't tell the difference until you are maybe a foot or two away. They are that realistic.

It is that simple - if you don't want the cops to shoot you in situations like this, then don't look like you are going for a gun in response to them rolling up on you.

@JCC/Achilles - the pulling up too close is a what if. Would things have been different if they had stopped a little further back, split up, and advanced on Rice on foot? Mostly irrelevant in regards to what happened here, since they didn't. More a question of policy and cause/effect than anything. It might have been an issue if the court took the approach of not letting police shoot their way out of situations that they put themselves in. But, the majority position seems to be to take things frame by frame, which means that you start the legal analysis (for self-defense) based on Rice appearing to pull a gun on them as they have rolled up too close, and ignore that they might have not faced this situation if they hadn't. But, since they did, they were legally justified in responding with deadly force since at the instant that they did respond, they were reasonably in imminent fear for their lives or great bodily injury, due to this young man pulling a gun on them.

But, playing out the "what if" a bit, I wonder if it would have turned out any differently? You almost question whether Rice had some sort of mental handicap - you just don't pull a gun, or anything that looks like a gun, in the presence of cops, who aren't expecting it. My guess is that Rice did not realize the level of his screw-up, or he wouldn't have done it. He had been pulling his (fake) gun and pointing it at people for awhile, and that may well have been what he was in the process of doing. He may have also been saying "bang bang" when he did. Would he have responded properly to the police yelling at him to put his weapon down, get down on the ground, etc.? I have my doubts. I wouldn't have been surprised if Rice had still pointed his gun at the cops, instead of responding properly to their shouted orders, getting himself ventilated anyway. We will never know.