Responding to a 9-1-1 call, the rookie officer arrived with his partner at Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard and noted the toy gun on a table beneath a pavilion, according to Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ed Tomba.
The officer, who has not been named, allegedly saw the child reach for the weapon and put it in his waistband. At that point, he reportedly told him to put his hands up and when the boy allegedly reached into his waistband instead, the officer fired two shots, striking the boy in the torso.
According to Tomba, the child, who is listed in serious condition at a local hospital, “did not threaten the officer verbally or physically,” Cleveland.com reports.
Distraught witnesses at the scene can be heard in the news report above describing the wounded child as “a little Black boy.”
The man who called 9-1-1 told police that there was “a guy with a pistol” on the swings “scaring the sh*t out of everyone.”
He told police at least twice that the gun was probably fake, but Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Jeff Follmer said that doesn’t matter.
“…we have to assume every gun is real,” he said. “When we don’t, that’s the day we don’t go home.”
The boy’s condition at this time is unknown.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that police have fired on an innocent person holding a toy gun in recent months.
As previously reported by NewsOne, an Ohio grand jury declined to indict two police officers who shot and killed 22-year-old John Crawford III in a Beavercreek Walmart on Aug. 5. Crawford, who, according to the mother of his two children, went to the store to buy ingredients for S’mores, was holding a MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle when he was gunned down.
Ronald Ritchie, the one and only person in Walmart to call 911, later recanted his initial statement to the dispatcher that Crawford was waving the toy rifle around after surveillance video proved his entire account to be false.