The father of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot dead after brandishing a BB gun wants to know why police had to use deadly force on his son. He tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Tamir Rice was a "respectful" young man and that he's shocked by accounts that his son failed to follow police orders. "Why not tase him?" he asks. "You shot him twice, not once, and at the end of the day you all don't shoot for the legs, you shoot for the upper body." The chief of Cleveland's police union, however, says officers are "not trained to shoot people in the leg" and that it could put lives in danger if police reach for a Taser when they believe the situation involves a real gun. "If we pull that trigger, we feel our lives are in danger," he says.
Police and the prosecutor's office are investigating the shooting, which happened Saturday afternoon after a 911 caller reported somebody pointing a "probably fake" pistol at people in a park. A lawyer for the boy's family tells the New York Times that while the shooting does not appear to be race-related, he thinks police should have acted with more caution. "This is not a grown man. I'd think you would handle situations with children differently than you would with an adult," he says. "They don't fully understand everything that is going on." Tamir's replica pistol had the orange safety indicator removed, and a state lawmaker plans to bring in legislation requiring toy guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent fluorescent strips, another Plain Dealer story reports. A press conference will be held at 11am today. (Read more Cleveland stories.)