Columbus, Ohio wants to start a campaign to improve relations between the community and the police departments. Easier said than done! There was a scene in the hit film Hunger Games: Catching Fire where the fear of God was put into District 12 by law enforcement. Many in the poverty-stricken district were beaten, shot to death, and put on a curfew like Ferguson, Missouri after the Mike Brown murder. Communities in major cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and the list continues are at a point where they feel oppressed and fearful of those wearing badges sent to protect them.
The climate in the state of Ohio is quite sensitive right now between the community and the police. After the Monday verdict by a grand jury concluding officer Timothy Loehmann would not be indicted in the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for possessing a toy gun made of plastic, improving relations does not seem to be anytime soon. As the country witnessed on a surveillance video a young Rice playing with his toy gun in a recreation park, many were devastated to watch a police car pull up and, within two seconds, Officer Loehmann gunning the child down. The toy was in Rice's waistband, unexposed when Loehmann drove up. The community wants answers as to why Rice was not questioned or told to put his toy weapon on the ground. Unfortunately, those questions will never be answered.
Dispatch received a call that a young, Black male was playing around with what could be a toy gun. The grand jury received evidence that the dispatch neglected to tell officer Loehmann that the weapon was a possible toy. Loehmann stated he feared for his life when he saw Rice who Loehmann also described as appearing older than 12 years old. The video does not show Loehmann asking Rice any questions. More importantly, the video does not show Rice punting the toy gun at the police or making any sort of threatening gestures. The little boy had his hands in his pocket, minding his own business when Loehmann pulled up.
Everyone watching the horrific murder of a child on video, have counted the seconds from the time Loehmann drove up to Rice in the park to Rice dropping to the floor. Depending on who you speak with or what news station you watch, the count is in between one and two seconds. The real question is since Ohio is an Open/Carry state and Rice was mistaken for an adult male by the police; why was Rice killed for carrying what was believed to be a real firearm?
If Rice was an adult Black male carrying a firearm in the state of Ohio, his rights were violated. And with the grand jury not indicting Loehmann, a campaign to get the communities of any part of the state of Ohio is looked upon as a joke. While there are some police officers who actually serve to protect every human life, no matter what race an individual is, there are still many who view men and women of color to be of no value.
Set to launch in the spring of 2016, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported Warhol & Wall Street working with the state advisory board on an awareness campaign. John Born, Ohio's public safety director believes the campaign will achieve an understanding between communities and law enforcement. After a string of fatal shootings in Ohio by police officers onto innocent civilians, the murder of 12-year-old Rice caused Ohio communities to become angry and fed up with police brutality. While it is honorable that Columbus, Ohio has high hopes for the spring campaign to improve relations with police, Blacks are guarding their 12 year olds. Because as of Monday, December 28, 2015, a grand jury has decided it is legal for police to drive up and open fire on their child. Officers are not required to question or follow any sort of proper protocol or procedure. If they feel at all threatened by a Black child...it is open season.