'I could have killed you': Video of cop policing 11-year-old carrying realistic BB gun goes viral
The responding police officer policed the children with words — instead of bullets – and cautioned them to not brandish a realistic looking toy gun in public again
A video of a police officer from Ohio, responding to a 911 call about two black children with a gun, has gone viral. Social media users are sharing the video because considering the current environment in our country, the incident could have easily resulted in violence, however, it did not. The responding police officer instead policed the children with words and cautioned them to not brandish a realistic looking toy gun in public again.
According to the Columbus Police Department, the video of the incident was recorded on officer Peter Casuccio's body-camera as he was called out to a 'gun run' while he was on patrol on Saturday afternoon.
Reports state that when Casuccio arrived at the scene, he saw two juveniles – an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old — and when he stepped out of the vehicle, the younger boy started to pull out a gun from his waistband, which prompted the officer to draw his service weapon.
The video starts with the officer having a tense conversation with the two boys where he tells them that he was there because someone called 911 about "two young blacks with a gun". The officer, in the video, can be heard saying that it wasn't till the boys hit the sidewalk that he realized it was a BB gun.
"You can't do that, dude, in today's world. Listen, that thing looks real, bro," the officer says in the clip as the boys can be heard apologizing. "Do I honestly look like the type of dude that wants to shoot anybody?" he asks, to which the boys reply, "No, sir."
"But do I look like the type of dude who will shoot somebody?" he asks, to which they respond, "Yes, sir." "I pride myself on being a pretty bad hombre because I got to be," Casuccio tells the children. "Don’t make me."
11YO W/BB GUN- LESSON LEARNED:— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) October 15, 2018
Saturday, 10/13/18@5:30pm Officer Peter Casuccio was called to a gun run.
When he got to the scene he discovered it was an 11yo boy with a BB gun.
Here is their interaction as seen on Officer Casuccio's body worn camera. https://t.co/3KqZXT7jHh pic.twitter.com/rq4GowtTiJ
The officer, later in the video, can be seen talking to the 11-year-old's mother about the incident and after hearing his account, the mother tells the boy: "He could have shot you… you know that?"
"Regardless of what people say about the dudes wearing this uniform, we care," Casuccio adds. "We legitimately care... having said that, the last thing I ever want to do is shoot an 11-year-old man. I want you to think about that tonight when you go to bed. You could be gone. Everything you want to do in this life could’ve been over," he says.
The spokesperson of Columbus police department, Chantay Boxill, while talking to CBS News said that the clip was released by the department because "it was a good job done by the officer in a very, very tense situation, and we try to highlight those."
Although the video has received a positive response from many, there are some social media users who pointed out the officer did seem biased when he told the children that they could have been shot and killed for carrying a toy gun. The critics of the video said that the same treatment would not have been meted to white children of the same age.
Police brutality is a grave issue in the United States with officers using deadly force on a disproportionate number of black people. According to an investigation by the Guardian in 2015, it was found that black people are more than twice as likely to be shot and killed while unarmed than white people in the same situation.
The chief diversity and inclusion officer at Cleveland State University, Ronnie A. Dunn, while talking to NBC News said that while it was fortunate that the situation was not dealt with police violence, the officer, however, could have addressed the boys differently and not used language like 'bad hombre'.
"At the end of the day, the officer used appropriate restraint, and de-escalation techniques to disarm the subjects, investigate and resolve, without the use-of-deadly-force," Dunn added.
Casuccio, talking to CBS News, said he's a dad first. But he's also a third-generation police officer, working one of the toughest neighborhoods in Columbus. He said it's possible he wouldn't have known it was a BB gun until it was "too late".
Casuccio said it was the closest he has ever come to shooting, but then not shooting, his weapon. It turned out to be a close call that saved a life.