A Baltimore Police Department officer shot a 14-year-old yesterday (April 27). The shooting happened one year to the day that Freddie Gray was laid to rest after dying in police custody and the Baltimore Uprising dominated the news.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the shooting happened just after 4 p.m. in Baltimore’s Jonestown neighborhood. Commissioner Kevin Davis said two plainclothes detectives were driving by and saw the teen holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol, but turned out to be a BB gun. The teen’s mother released his name, Dedric Colvin, to the press, and said that he is 14, not 13 years old as previously reported.
Per the local CBS affiliate:
“They identified themselves as police officers to this young man. The young man took off on foot with the gun in his hand,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis, Baltimore Police Department.
Police say he never dropped the gun during a foot chase that lasted more than 150 yards.
“One of our two police officers discharged his firearm at the young man, striking him non-fatally,” said Davis.
In the end, a fake semi-automatic pistol was recovered. Police say it’s nearly identical to a real Beretta.
Commissioner Davis says he has no reason to believe his officers acted inappropriately.
“I stood right over top of the gun—and I’ve been a police officer for 25 years—and there’s no way on this Earth that I could tell you from looking at that gun that it wasn’t real,” he said.
Officers say they are unsure if the eighth-grader actually pointed the fake gun at anyone during the incident. He was non-fatally injured, suffering shots in his leg and shoulder. His mother, Yolanda Young, says she was picked up by officers, placed in handcuffs and driven to the police station where she was questioned and detained before being taken to see her son at the hospital. The commissioner told press that the department’s Special Investigations Response Team will examine the circumstances of the shooting.
Some Twitter users expressed concern over the way the way officers handled the situation:
White men with real guns don’t get shot by police like black children with toy guns do.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) April 27, 2016
And this, on the “Day of Reconciliation”#Baltimore
III (@HeberBrown) April 27, 2016
The shooting comes the same week that the City of Cleveland was ordered to pay the estate of Tamir Rice $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. The 12-year-old was playing with a toy gun when he was killed by a police officer. The involved officers were acquitted.