Oklahoma City, OK — James McHenry, an Oklahoma City resident, says the 15-year-old boy police encountered in his neighborhood is lucky to be alive. Ten days before Halloween, the young man donned his Halloween mask, grabbed an airsoft pistol, and started walking around his neighborhood. Unfortunately for the young man, police were called to the scene.
Upon arrival, OKC sheriff's deputies ordered the boy to get face down on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Then they gave him a lecture asking, "What was it doing in your hand?" They explained to the boy he could have been killed had he not dropped the weapon and complied. Once again, full compliance or death was threatened.
According to news reports, the boy had been "lurking" through the neighborhood peering into windows. But what if his only goal was to scare his friend or his friend's family? Is that a crime, and is it not expected during the scariest time of the year? To some, the whole incident serves to illustrate just how trigger happy police officers are and how quick the public is to defend their actions.
McHenry told reporters that if the boy had been shot by police, there would have been an "uproar" and the community would have been up in arms. He's likely correct. Every year at Halloween, police seem to attempt to scare the public. They released the body camera footage on Halloween day, October 31st, to serve as a reminder who the public should really be scared of and to whom everyone should bow down to when told. What if the boy were standing in his own driveway and refused to drop the gun?
The sad truth is he would have been killed instantly and become yet another statistic to be added to the nearly 1,200 people killed by police every year.
The humor was lost with the officers who quickly berated the young boy (whose face was blurred because he's a minor).
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You almost got killed...You almost got bullets put in you. You understand that? You had it in your hand...What's this fake gun and mask over here then if you didn't do nothing? The one I saw you put down. Hands behind your back.
What police seem to not understand that when they immediately go to their weapons and pull a loaded handgun on a kid, they're doing to the kid precisely what the public pays them to protect children from strangers pulling out a gun on the public and forcing them against their will to obey their orders. It seems there may have been a better way to handle the situation.
Would it not have been prudent to use a loudspeaker from the vehicle first? Would it not have been wise to call the home where the boy was seen, and ask the adults if their children are outside dressed in Halloween masks? These questions and more remain as once again a child was ordered to the ground under threat of homicide by law enforcement officers and it was, in the opinion of TFTP, no accident that they released the footage on Halloween Day.
If they had of shot him, we would of had an uproar in the neighborhood in the city, because they wouldn't have known that it was a fake gun until after it had been done...It starts at home and if we don't teach them and tell them what is going on out there in the world, then you can't blame the police men...You got to blame yourself.
We couldn't agree more, Mr. McHenry. But the community needs also to learn it can handle its own business without involving the boys in blue who proved in this instance they're more than capable of killing a kid in a costume.