Thursday, the St. Louis County Police department in Fenton decided to weigh in on the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
The status message, entitled “Kids will be Kids?” was posted to the Fenton police department’s Facebook page.
Fenton is near Ferguson and also a part of St. Louis County. The status post didn’t focus on the actions of the officer in the Rice shooting but instead directed its attention to the role children may play.
The post’s message was clear: Parents need to talk to their kids about airsoft guns.
Focusing on the child’s role in police encounters and not the action of officers didn’t sit well with some on social media.
— Sandra Kohlmann (@SandraKohlmann) December 4, 2014
It includes “tips” that parents should know about children playing with airsoft guns and how to deal with police if officers are called to a scene.
“Warn them these ‘toys’ do look like real guns and could result in the police getting called on them,” one section reads.
Remember if an Airsoft pistol is tucked in your pants like a holster, then obviously the orange tip is no longer visible. The police will respond lights and sirens and come to a screeching halt in the area where your child is playing with the gun.
The tips come at the end of the roughly 500-word post:
- Do not run away.
- They need no longer have the gun in their hands, throw it away from them.
- They need to comply with officer’s instructions.
- The may be ordered to lie down on the ground.
- Clear communication between your child and the police is essential.
In the Tamir Rice case, officials said 1.5 – 2 seconds elapsed between the time officers arrived on the scene and the fatal shooting occurred.
The St. Louis County Police have been under a national microscope for months because of Michael Brown’s death and the protests in Ferguson.
The full screen grabs of the Tamir Rice ‘essay’ are below:
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar issued an apology for the post Thursday afternoon: