Just after 4 PM yesterday a 14-year-old boy who did not pose a real threat to anyone was shot by a police officer in East Baltimore. It was the one year anniversary of Freddie Gray’s funeral, the event two weeks after Gray’s death from spinal injuries in the care of police officers on April 12, 2015 which sparked the Baltimore uprising.
#BaltimoreUprising Taking to the Streets
— Harris from the Post (@rousseau_ist) April 27, 2016
According to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, the boy was holding a replica of a Beretta 9mm automatic pistol when he was spotted by police detectives in plain clothes. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun.
Police say that they commanded the boy to stop and then one officer shot him twice in the lower body after a brief chase. A witness who saw the shooting occur on Baltimore Street says he saw the boy run and two adults begin to chase him.
“[The teen] turned towards them but he wasn’t turning the gun towards them and I’m positive I heard him say, ‘It’s not real,'” said the witness, who identified himself to WBALTV as Bryan.
Bryan said police yelled at the teen to drop the gun as they approached him before he motioned the gun upward, not toward the officers.
“He said, ‘It’s not real. It’s not real,’ and that quick, the male officer shot him twice in the leg,” Bryan said.
Bryan said he has been in contact with police with his account of the shooting.
The teen, who police have not publicly identified, is expected to recover from the two bullet wounds. Police reported that he was 13-years-old, however his mother has come forward with his identity and that he is 14.
Police in Baltimore have shot a 13-year-old boy, who they say was holding a replica gun.https://t.co/mqIqhIiyeY
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 28, 2016
Otherwise the shooting is eerily similar to the shooting of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot and killed by a police officer for holding a toy gun in a Cleveland park in 2014. Earlier this week the city of Cleveland agreed to pay Rice’s family $6 million to settle a federal wrongful death lawsuit.
Like Rice, Freddie Gray, and countless other victims of police violence, the teen shot in Baltimore on Wednesday was black.
— AJE News (@AJENews) April 28, 2016
Police Commissioner Davis has maintained that the two officers acted appropriately.
“They got out of their car and they engaged a person who had what looked like a gun in his hand,” Davis said. “I mean, come on. That’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what cops do.
“It’s an absolute, identical replica semiautomatic pistol. Those police officers had no way of knowing that it was not, in fact, an actual firearm. It looks like a firearm,” Davis said.
The boy’s mother, Yolanda Young spoke to the Baltimore Sun and identified her son as Dedric Colvin, an 8th grader at City Springs Middle School. Young said her son had been shot in his shoulder and in his leg.
Young said she was home Wednesday afternoon when an older son came banging on the front door.
“Ma,” Alvin Colvin said. “The police shot Dedric.”
Young said she ran outside to find the boy bleeding in a side street near a basketball court.
“All I could see was blood,” she said. “I was screaming.”
Young described the nightmare of being handcuffed and taken to a police station for questioning instead of being allowed to join her son at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was even put in a cell at one point because officers said she was being belligerent, Young said.
“It was humiliating,” Young told the Baltimore Sun as she showed reporters Dedric’s medal from the Baltimore Urban Debate League in her home Wednesday evening. It took about two hours for them to take her to the hospital to see her son.
“He gets good grades. My son is a good kid,” Young said. “I know he was scared. They shot at him while he was fleeing.”
Conversation w/15yo son:
Me-So if 2 plainclothes men yelled at you & started moving towards you, what would you do?
— unbreakable (@HopeLoveJustice) April 28, 2016
— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) April 23, 2016