In yet another display of government incompetence, a young boy has been shot and killed by police for having a toy gun.
On Tuesday in the town of Tempe, Arizona (a Phoenix suburb), a 14-year-old boy was suspected of stealing from a car. The boy, whom the family has identified as Antonio Arce, fled from the scene when the cops arrived.
As he ran, officers reported he was holding what appeared to be a handgun retrieved from the vehicle. Seemingly giving up, Arce briefly turned towards the officer – possibly to surrender.
The cop shot him immediately, killing him on the spot. Officials have identified the cop as Officer Jaen.
Claiming that the boy ‘posed a threat’ and appeared to be reaching for a weapon, Officer Jaen claimed he feared for his life. That weapon? A harmless airsoft gun.
Many airsoft guns look like actual weapons, making it difficult for cops to determine at a distance whether the weapon is real or fake. But when dealing with children, the police shouldn’t shoot first and ask questions later. Especially when they have made the exact same mistake before.
Of course, the police department’s only tweet regarding the incident was to say the officer was safe, ignoring the young man gunned down in the street.
We are working an officer involved shooting in the area of 48th Street and Baseline. The officer was not injured. We will be working in the area so PLEASE stay off of the area if possible. We will provide more details as they become available. pic.twitter.com/ReOIIevj00
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) January 15, 2019
The Maricopa County Police Department has already launched an investigation into the shooting to determine whether it was justified. This investigation will be in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s office.
At first, the department refused to show any body cam footage regarding the incident, leaving the public in the dark. Many asked a simple question: if the cop truly acted in self-defense – against a 14-year-old boy with a toy gun – why won’t they allow the people to see it?
When the footage was finally released today, we learned why. It clearly shows the officer blatantly gunning down the unarmed teen as he fled.
Here is the shocking video.
Antonio’s family has demanded justice for a son they believe was taken all too soon. They believe that the police’s characterization of their son as a criminal is meant to dehumanize him.
“If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong,” said Sandra Gonzalez, the boy’s mother. “Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him,” she said. “No. I won’t allow it, I want justice.”