You must understand, the prosecutor said at today’s press conference, that the pellet gun Rice was carrying was no shiny silver Lone Ranger toy pistol with an orange tip. It was nearly indistinguishable from a real piece, especially from any sort of distance. Which is true:
It’s also true that the cops were never told what the police dispatcher heard when the 911 call came in about Rice, namely, that he was probably a kid and that his gun was “probably fake.”But the knock on the cops isn’t that they inexcusably mistook a gun that was obviously fake for a genuine weapon. The knock on them is that they rolled right up on Rice in their cruiser upon arriving at the park and had put a bullet in his belly within two seconds of confronting him, before they had made any reasonable attempt to gauge whether he was a true threat or not. Watch the second clip below in the unlikely event that you’ve never seen it before. When the Cleveland Plain-Dealer asked three police experts last year whether the cops’ tactics were sound, the response was unanimous.