I never understood the way Tamir Rice’s murder was rationalized by the police and the media. They reportedly shot him within seconds of arriving on the scene. Why was that type of action necessary against a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun?
Well, an additional piece of the puzzle might explain things a little bit more.
According to Cleveland.com, the 911 dispatcher never told the policemen that the caller said the gun might be fake.
That dispatcher, Beth Mandl, has failed to come to work since April 3 of this year.
On July 16, she finally sent a two sentence resignation letter.
“I have enjoyed working here and I will miss you all.”
She only sent the letter after the department gave her an ultimatum: “provide a satisfactory explanation for her absence or be considered resigned.”
She was not paid during her absence.
Rice’s family and civil rights leaders naturally took issue with Mandl’s handling of the situation. Particularly when the caller, a man, noted that a male–possibly a young boy– was waving a gun around and that gun was “probably fake.”
Mandl did not tell the officers reporting to the scene any of this.
While she was certainly wrong in not providing all the facts, the blame doesn’t solely lie with her. Police officers should be better equipped to determine the general age of certain suspects, the authenticity of a perceived weapon and attempt to disarm people without taking their lives in the process. It’s a shame they didn’t have these necessary skills before they ran into Rice, doing what little boys should be able to do without harm, playing outside.