"Given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police," said prosecutor Tim McGinty said on Monday.
In her piece, Savali quotes an officer who radioed in Rice’s slaying describing the boy as “black male, maybe 20.” The writer accurately points out, “in a country that overwhelmingly distorts black childhood to fit its vile and violent racial prejudice, Tamir never stood a chance.”
It made me think of something my “Aunt”, (really a cousin, but the age difference makes me think of her differently) said when I visited my family in New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2012.
It was my first—and only—Mardi Gras. My family had a float. We went to the supply store and bought a ton of beads and stuffed animals to throw out. I spent $200 on beads and bears. And I was being cheap.
Because I’d never been on a float before, my "aunt" gave me tips. The only one I remember was "make sure to throw beads to black boys and teenagers."
She has two sons, who at the time were maybe 14 and 17. They were (and are) the most beautiful kids I've ever seen. Just gob smacking, deliciously gorgeous kids. Both were pretty athletic and liked attention from girls so they dressed "clean" and worked out. But even with the height, square shoulders and the faint mustaches, you could see the kid in them plain as day.
My aunt remembered taking them to Mardi Gras when they were kid-kids, like 4 and 7 and how they would get home loaded with beads and toys because everyone thought they were so cute and would throw them stuff. Then as they got older, they got less and less. And it's not an age thing, because everyone -- except black boys and men-- comes back loaded if they stay out with the floats all day.
But when her sons reached about 10, people stopped seeing the kid in them. They were no longer seen as cute, or just revelers out on the daytime sidewalk and grass like every other man, woman, and child. People hopped up on good vibes and good liquor didn't extend their good will to her boys, to her KIDS, anymore. It hurt her and it hurt them.
As soon as we started rolling through the streets, I saw what she meant. People would run up to the float with one hand extended because they were carrying so much stuff already. Or they'd see us coming, and they'd run up from a pile in the grass where they were storing their take. And none of those people with full arms and piles were Black boys and men. And it's not like they weren't out there in the mix trying to get stuff. Black boys and Black men would be jostling in the crowd, arms extended and delightfully screaming, caught up in the revelry like everyone else. Just their hands -- and only their hands-- were empty.
So we-- as in me, CBW and 20 members of my fam-- spent hours, rolling thru NOLA at no more than 10 mph on some bus contraption throwing beads and stuffed animals to mostly Black boys and some men to make up for the many other people wouldn't because they didn't see the child or the humanity in Black boys.
I don’t know what they saw instead. I don’t know what the officer who shot down 12 year old Tamir Rice saw. Was it the same “demon” that Michael saw when he murdered Michael Brown? I don’t know. But it wasn’t the boy that Rice was. And the officers showed no humanity.