Police Union Sues Toy Gun Maker For Not Doing Enough To Keep Cleveland Cops From Killing 12-Year-Old Boys
from the who-will-it-sue-now-that-it's-shot-itself-in-the-foot? dept
In the world of law enforcement, there’s very little more ridiculous than police unions. That’s the unfortunate side effect of feeling compelled to defend every “bad apple,” no matter how rotten they are. The Cleveland police union has reached the apotheosis of law enforcement spin — this time taking the form of a lawsuit that looks like a punchline.
First, some backstory. In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a Cleveland police officer as he played with a toy gun in the park. A caller reported Rice, saying he was waving around a gun. The caller also said it was likely the person they saw was a juvenile and the gun was likely a toy. This information was not passed on to the responding officers, who boldly/stupidly raced across the park lawn to within feet of where Rice was standing and shot him two seconds after exiting their vehicle. The “gun” Rice had was an Airsoft replica with the bright “not a gun” tip removed.
Had the dispatcher passed on the mitigating factors, Tamir Rice might still be alive. Had the officers decided to approach this tactically, rather than like an out-of-control half of a buddy-cop movie cliche, Tamir Rice might still be alive. But, as the Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association sees it, the problem wasn’t bad communication and worse tactics. The real problem here is toy gun makers.
The Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association announced it will soon be filing a lawsuit against toy gun manufacturers in federal court.
CPPA attorney Henry Hilow told News 5 the civil lawsuit will not seek financial damages, but rather seek to restrict the design of toy guns, so they don’t look so realistic.
“These fake weapons put the community at risk, puts law enforcement at risk, something has to be done,” Hilow said. “The remedy that we’d be looking for is that that gun could not replicate. That that gun would be of such a color have such a tip.”
Airsoft guns do look realistic, minus the bright orange tip that comes standard. Anyone can remove the tip… just like anyone can create a real gun that looks fake. None of that matters, though, as attempts to create vicarious liability tend to fall apart under judicial scrutiny. And, notably, the Cleveland Police Union has never attempted to sue the manufacturers of real guns, despite them being involved in almost every situation where officers have shot at people or been shot by them.
As Popehat pointed out on Twitter, this is likely only the first of many police union lawsuits:
Next to be sued by police: Coach for making wallets and God for making black people’s hands and waistbands
So far, the CPPA stands alone in its jackassery. But it has hopes that others similarly situated will beclown themselves for the dismayed amusement of the nation:
He said the CPPA is looking for support from other police unions in major cities like Columbus and Dallas.
I applaud the union’s willingness to take a stand in court against the maker of an item held by a person one of its members killed. Anything that draws more attention (albeit inadvertently) to the trigger-happy tendencies of Cleveland police officers and the increasing ridiculousness of police union statements and actions is fine by me.