Police officer praised for not shooting kids holding toy gun

Officer Peter Casuccio of the Columbus, Ohio, police has become quite the media star in the last 24 hours because he didn’t kill an 11-year-old kid holding a toy gun when he was responding to a report of young men with guns on Saturday afternoon.

The department released body cam footage of the incident on Monday as a lesson, it said.

“I could’ve killed you. I want you to think about that tonight when you go to bed. You could be gone. Everything you want to do in this life could’ve been over,” officer Casuccio said.

  • Erik Petersen

    I’ll give this one guy praise as far as it goes, because he’s obviously watched, read, and learned something for himself as a professional over the last 3 years…. that he doesn’t have to follow Cooper’s use of force continuum to its end point with the assurance he’ll never be charged for getting it wrong.

  • Jerry

    In what world is an 11year old kid a “young man”?

    Oh wait, he’s African American.

    Whereas, white men are boys until their mid-twenties apparently.

    • Oh trust me. I can’t win on the choice of adjectives/nouns here. I was going to get it no matter which I chose. But when the cop said, “how old are you, boy?” it took me aback. I’m not going to do it too for that very reason. Because: the Internet.

      • Jerry

        I wasn’t being critical of your phrasing, but rather the people who called it in and society at large.

      • >>”how old are you, boy?”<<

        I was actually shocked at that…but I guess I shouldn't be shocked…

      • Jerry

        I should also add that “boy” has very different connotations when used for black males then when it is white ones. And describing 11 year olds as young boys is very different than addressing them as “boy”

      • jon

        Only winning move is not to play…

    • RBHolb

      Back in the Dark Ages, on the first day of 8th grade math class, our teacher asked all the boys to stand. He asked one of us–an African American–if he were standing. He replied politely “You see, I’m not a boy. I’m a young man.”

      Point taken.

      • Jerry

        In describing one aspect of racism (the fact that male African American children are generally perceived as older, and therefor considered more threatening, then other children, while white men’s misdeeds are ignored because of their “youth”), I stumbled into another aspect of racism (the use of “boy” as a disparaging term for African American men, regardless of age).

        The point I was trying to make is that no one would call the cops on a bunch of white kids playing with BB guns, and we wouldn’t be lauding a cop for not shooting them. We would accept it as normal.

  • Erik Petersen

    The Bob Kroll look is obviously a thing among cops. That says a lot, and its not flattering.

  • Gary F

    We can look at it now and say he made the right move. Good for him, that took guts. BB and air soft guns look the like real things, down to the detail of all the most popular guns. The orange tip is easily covered up with a felt tip pen. If these kids were 5 years older, his decision may have been different, especially if they didn’t cooperate. The kids handled this well too. Good on everyone’s part.

    • I found one of the Facebook comments on the department’s page to be interesting. Said because he had military training, he was more able to quickly assess and react to the situation than, say, the cop who killed Tamir Rice .

      • Erik Petersen

        Maybe, but … meh. These Airsoft guns do look a bit like real firearms, yes, but they are fairly easily discernible as toys by people who are around real guns as much as cops are.

        Its to say Rice’s shooter could have come to the correct conclusion has he used any discernment at all.

        Not arguing just to argue.

        • Gary F

          The ones I’ve seen and my nephews have look just like a Beretta 92FS and S&W M&P, matt black and to exact scale.

          A cop couldn’t tell that just by looking. The cop said he knew the gun wasn’t real when it hit the ground.

        • >>Airsoft guns do look a bit like real firearms<<

          Many that I've seen look EXACTLY like a real firearm.

          • Erik Petersen

            Yes. But still, I think the ability of a professional LEO to discern whats what within a few seconds exists given a reasonable attempt to do so. And a thing is, these guys can’t be colored by the sensibility that a preteen that has the superficial appearance of playing with a toy is actually armed with a weapon and behaving dangerously. Cuz… whats more likely.

            My point is, there’s no excuse for the police manslaughter that was the Tamir Rice killing. The guy here didn’t make the right decision by virtue of his military training. He made the right decision because he was adequately professional and bothered to use his brain.

          • >>I think the ability of a professional LEO to discern whats what within a few seconds exists given a reasonable attempt to do so. <<

            One would hope.

          • well training is what puts stuff in the brain to be used.

      • Gary F

        He made the right decisions.

        The kids cooperated too. Many escalate the situation

        Well played by both parties.

  • theoacme

    Xcel Energy has better standards of accountability for line employees (but not senior executives – no corporation has good standards of accountability for senior executives) than police departments have for cops…

    …and prosecutors are, by my back-of-the-envelope guesstimate, based on news coverage over the years, 22,337% more likely to bust their butts to convict an Xcel employee who murdered a white person than a cop who murdered a white person – but the likelihood of the prosecutors busting their butts to convict for murdering an African-American, whether by the Xcel employee or a cop, is ALWAYS less than the cube root of {expletive deleted} all…

    …if I was African-American, I would be justifiably afraid of ANY white person that looked in any way like Bob Kroll, AND any person that defended Kroll – I’m white, and I’m justifiably afraid of any cop that looks like Bob Kroll, as well as all cops that have not publicly and unequivocally condemned him and his ilk, and all people who defend cops like Kroll.

    This means I’m justifiably afraid of all cops and virtually all DFL and Republican politicians and major campaign contributors, since all cops are too scared to hold their bad apple colleagues to public account, so they’re all either completely rotten, getting rotten, or about to start getting rotten, and I haven’t seen a DFL or Republican politician or major campaign contributor that isn’t cowardly, since if they had an ounce of courage, they’d move to get rid of bad cops immediately, and move to prevent bad cops from existing in the first place, but they’re doing the cube root of {expletive deleted} all to the 32nd degree.

    And since cops and DFL/GOP politicians receive extra benefits under the application of law (both in reduced prosecution against them when the break the law, and increased prosecution against those who, even justifiably, break the law in a manner that is a detriment to cops and politicians), the only thing I can do is keep speaking my mind, and keeping my will updated, because Bob Kroll and his ilk are entirely capable of lynching anybody who disagrees with their fascism, and the only thing that I can do is wait for them all to lynch me, so that they all can feel better about themselves, the poor picked-on dears – bless their hearts.

  • theoacme

    Tamir Rice didn’t have a chance to obey – he was shot (lynched) immediately.

  • Donovan Lambright

    I am no expert but I think Ohio is an open carry state. So, should it matter that the toy gun looked real?

  • Tigger

    That this officer is expecting praise for NOT shooting two young black kids shows just how damaged the system is. And that he feels he ‘taught them a lesson’ by making sure they knew he could have shot them but chose not to and telling them to ‘think about that when they go to sleep’ is frightening and misguided. Even at 11 I’m sure they are already aware of the target on their back for just existing as black.
    That officer didn’t challenge any status quo, he reinforced it.

    And the idea that he taught them a lesson is like saying the problem is on black kids for getting shot. Not on frightened police officers with biases drilled into their heads and shooting innocent people that don’t deserve to get murdered. Philando Castille did everything he was supposed to do, he was shot for being black. Stefon Clark was in his grandparents backyard. Botham Jean was just existing in his apartment. What lesson did they need to learn? What were they supposed to different except not exist while black.

    It’s not the kids that need to learn the lesson here…