Stop blaming police for killing of 13-year-old out on the street in middle of the night
Every time a child is killed by a street gang or even by police, the first thing society and the mainstream news media does is to blame the police. But the police are not to blame when a 13-year-old is shot while carrying a weapon out on the street in the middle of the night long after curfew. Illinois needs a law that makes parents responsible first when tragedies like this occur.
By Ray Hanania
It is certainly a true tragedy when anyone is shot and killed, but even more so when the victim is an elementary school child. Racism is a real challenge and problem in America but failing to separate right from wrong and blaming everything on racism does a disservice to the power of civil rights.
Last Monday, March 29, a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed while in an alley in Little Village on Chicago’s near West Side.
The child, Adam Toledo, was shot by a Chicago Police Officer. Toledo was reportedly with another boy, 21-year-old Ruben Roman Jr., who has a criminal history. Roman pled guilty to “illegal gun possession” according to the news media, stemming from an arrest in Evanston and was sentenced to probation.
The mother wants answer, and I agree. But this case tragically raises other questions including where does the line of parental responsibility end? The public deserves answers, too!
Why is a 13-year-old boy out at 2:30 in the morning instead of being at home?
Why is a 13-year-old boy hanging around with a 21-year-old adult?
Did their son have a gun? And why was this boy even near or around anyone who had a gun?
Did the parents call the police when their son was not home by the 10 PM curfew? Did they call police when their son was not home at 2 AM, four hours past curfew?
Neighbors called police. They reported hearing gunshots at 2:30 in the morning near the scene, according to news media and police reports. The police found the boy and his adult friend, and a weapon. A gun!
According to Chicago’s laws – if laws mean anything anymore in Chicago, minors are required to be home by 10 PM Sunday through Thursday and by 11 PM on Friday or Saturday. The curfew extends until 6 AM.
The likelihood that a child on the street after curfew becoming the victim of a crime, is overwhelming. Any parent should know that. I would have gone crazy wondering where my son was at 10 PM at 11 PM at midnight at 1 AM and at 2 AM.
Questions need to be answered. As painful as it is for the mother, who has already hired a lawyer, she needs to be held accountable. What about her responsibility? What did she do when her son did not return home at 10 PM and was out in the middle of the night?
If my 13-year-old son were out in the middle of the night, it would be my responsibility, my fault and on my conscience if something happened. But I would be out there looking for him, calling the police to find him, alerting the police that he might be with an adult “friend” with a criminal record.
I wouldn’t be at home in the middle of the night when my son was out on the street. And when we found my son and he had a weapon, it would be judgment day in our home. I would have taught him a serious lesson about having a weapon of any kind!
Illinois needs new laws to require that parents are held accountable for the actions of their children. They need to be responsible when their children are injured or killed while outside and with a weapon.
Not every police shooting is the fault of the police. Stop blaming police for responding to the calls of neighbors concerned when they hear gunfire. Stop blaming police when they confront a suspect with a gun in the middle of the night who refuses to stop or drop a weapon.
Yes, the boy was a young child. And that is where the parent’s responsibility comes in. If the boy was too young to be responsible for his actions, who is responsible? The police? Or the parents?
I am pretty sure if this ends up in a lawsuit against the Police, those questions will be pushed aside and wrapped in “police brutality” or “police negligence” by some in the public.
The death of Adam Toledo is a real tragedy. We should all mourn for him.
In incidents like this, it is even more of a tragedy when the relatives of under-aged fatalities blame the police and take no responsibility.
Parents need to be responsible for what happens to their children, especially when the tragedy could have been prevented. Had Adam been at home that night, this tragedy would never have happened.
If you want to help the Toledo family, you can visit their GoFundMe page where they have already raised $41,000. Someone should create a GoFundMe page for the Police officers involved, too. In today’s screwed up world, they certainly need the support. Click here.
We should all be strong in demanding that every parent must do their job and care for their children before they make blaming the police their priority.
(This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group on April 7, 2021. Email Ray Hanania with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.Hanania.com for more columns, commentary and political analysis.)
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(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
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