The St. Louis County Police Department on Thursday posted an article to Facebook titled "Kids will be Kids?" — prompted by the Cleveland police shooting and killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was carrying a toy gun at the time he was killed. The post was quickly deleted, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar later apologized for it.
"As Chief of Police, I apologize to Tamir's family and anyone who was offended by the post," Belmar wrote in a Facebook post. "While the post did not originate from the Chief's Office and I was unaware of its presence prior to its release, I realize the message was insensitive to Tamir's family and the sorrow they are currently experiencing."
The original post seemed like well-intentioned advice to parents to make sure their children are using airsoft and pellet guns responsibly, but the general theme of the post is that children should have to adapt to how police officers handle these situations — instead of changing how police officers themselves deal with these situations. Instead of focusing on responsible use of the real firearm the officer actually used in this case, the post focused on the type of toy gun the boy was carrying.
Here are screenshots of the original postings on Twitter and Facebook:
With the Rice shooting in particular, it's questionable just how much police could have known about the weapon before they killed the 12-year-old. The officer who killed Rice, Timothy Loehmann, opened fire within two seconds of his squad car pulling up to the scene.