Casuccio on TV. Photo: Screenshot CNN.
Last week, some press pundits, in commercial media, were praising the actions of Ohio Officer Peter Casuccio, for as CNN put it, showing “restraint”—because he didn’t shoot two Black kids who were playing with a BB gun.
What media outlets, like CNN, conveniently ignored here is this: White boys across America play with toy guns—and even real guns—all the time with little likelihood they’ll lose their lives, by police, because of it.
Because of racial policing, this officer’s “restraint” is being praised as some act of greatness. It isn’t.
Last week, Columbus Police released a bodycam video of an encounter between Officer Peter Casuccio and two Black boys, ages 11 and 13—who were playing with a BB gun. Reportedly, Officer Casuccio had initially passed the boys; and saw no reason to engage them. However, after passing them, Casuccio reportedly received a 911 call about “two young male Blacks” who “look really young and they just flashed a gun.”
Officer Casuccio said he then turned back because these two Black kids fit the description. Casuccio said he drew his weapon as he approached the teens. Allegedly, because Casuccio then assessed no real threat—because the teens didn’t have a real gun—he then supposedly decided to go into “dad mode” and lecture these Black teens about how bad their conduct was.
White people just love lecturing Black people about things they should be telling White people.
And when they aren’t busy lecturing us, their police are busy brutalizing our people, as was recently done to a 12-year-old Black boy by a White cop, at the Cumberland Mall, in Cobb County, Georgia. That officer is seen, on video, manhandling the boy—before brutalizing the boy’s aunt who protested, in defense of her nephew. This officer knocked her to the ground, as she videotapes the bigoted brutality, on her cellphone.
During his rhetorical reprimand, Officer Casuccio lamented to these Black boys that the BB gun they had “is getting kids killed all over the country.” When one of the Black boys told Officer Casuccio he didn’t flash the gun, but was only holding it, Casuccio responded “You can’t do that dude, in today’s world. Listen, that thing looks real, bro.”
Of course, Officer Casuccio’s words of wisdom here don’t apply to White boys—who are playing with guns all over the country, without any worry of being shot by police.
When the boys apologized, Casuccio says “You should be sorry, and you should be scared. Do you think I want to shoot an 11-year-old? Do you think I want to shoot a 13-year-old?” At one point, Officer Casuccio felt the need to brag that “I pride myself on being a pretty bad hombre, because I got to be.”
It’s obvious to any intelligent person that Officer Casuccio was speaking to a larger audience–he intended to release these comments to the public.
Officer Casuccio continued to lecture the 11-year-old, when he took him home, after the 13-year-old’s mother took her son home. Casuccio told the 11-year-old “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.”
Are these comments intended to let some people now look back and say, “Hmm, now I understand why and how Tamir Rice was killed?” Are they intended to condition the public to be more accepting of a future incident when another Black child is killed?
Somehow, Officer Casuccio seemed oblivious to the racist double-standard his statements imply. Does he realize his comments exclude Whites, who arm themselves to the teeth, and walk around with their real guns, usually with little suspicion from police?
The final insult was when Officer Casuccio had the gall to tell this 11-year-old “You’ve got to go answer for your sins to momma.” What sins? Wearing Black skin? Those were sinful comments by this officer.
His comments sound so premeditated that I would like to hear the details of the call that prompted him to return to the children in the first place.
We should not be fooled by what’s going on here. The release of this body-cam video by Columbus Police as a supposed “life lesson,” is nothing more than a public relations stunt to assist in repairing the racist image of police.
The hypocrisies here are endless.
Consider this: Ohio is one of 45 states in America that is an “open carry” state. Moreover, in Ohio, residents are allowed to “open carry” without a permit. A permit is required for carrying a loaded gun in a car. No permit is required if a gun is unloaded and in plain sight.
Let’s keep this in mind: we’re talking about two boys with a BB gun here, not a real gun.
But when those boys are Black that changes the policing equation doesn’t it? Ohio is the same “open carry” state where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was gunned down by Officer Timothy Loehmann, for playing with a toy gun, in a park, across the street from his home, on November 22, 2014. Like most killer-cops, Loehmann wasn’t held accountable for his murderous actions.
The killing of Tamir Rice is but one reason Black parents shouldn’t buy their young kids toy-guns. Black parents should wait until their children are older to teach them about guns—and the deadly consequences that can occur by the thoughtless handling of guns. Black children should also be taught—that unlike Whites—even if they are legal gun owners, like Philando Castile was, they will still be perceived as a threat, if seen with a gun, and killed because of racial policing.
The State of Ohio is also where 24-year-old John Crawford was shot down dead in a Walmart store on August 5, 2014, by Beavercreek Police Officer Sean Williams. Crawford was shot while holding a BB air-rifle in one hand—and talking on the phone with the other hand. As was the case with Tamir Rice’s killer, Timothy Loehmann, a grand jury declined to indict Williams for killing Crawford.
We often hear a lot of bloviating bull about the “sanctity of the Second Amendment.” These cases show us the Second Amendment “right,” to carry a gun, was never meant to be bestowed on Black Americans. The Second Amendment was enacted during the violent eruption of the Haitian Revolution, to help terrorize and subjugate enslaved Africans in America—and prevent them from following the example of the enslaved Africans in Haiti, who gained liberation by bloody revolution.
How can corporate media outlets, like CNN, pretend Officer Casuccio deserves praise for just doing his job, somewhat, properly? Yes, we’re happy these Black boys weren’t shot dead—but spare us the hypocritically pretensive pontificating. This is incident is being used as a public relations ploy to repair the image of racial policing that has caused deadly damage to African-Americans.
Instead of heaping hyped praise on this officer, for this one isolated incident, why isn’t White corporate media delving into the real issues here regarding entrenched institutional racism in American policing? Corporate media’s lack of honest factual coverage assists in erasing from history the memory of all the innocent Blacks who die by the hands of police.
In America, toy-guns have always been a favorite of young White males, because of the violent nature of this nation. The very BB gun Officer Casuccio scolded these Black boys about are part of the gun marketing and manufacturing industry. Aren’t toy guns, like BB guns, produced to sell to the young boys of America? Are they meant only for White boys as officer Casuccio’s actions and CNN’s coverage suggests?
Isn’t this done to foster love for guns at an early age, so that when those boys become men, they will go out and buy the kinds of guns that caused the very carnage we saw in Parkland, Florida; and in Arizona, as well as in so many other places? Whose fault is it that guns are glorified, sanctified and identified as an important aspect of White American maleness?
Are White police scolding and castigating White boys about the dangers of playing with guns? Of course not. So how can these people give moralizing lectures to Black kids about playing with toy-guns?
The real truth here is: racist police always want to blame others for their reprehensible racism. So, when police kill innocent Blacks, they find excuses to blame their dead victims. Here, Casuccio is blaming these Black boys for almost shooting them, because they were playing with a toy-gun White kids wouldn’t give a second thought too.
White corporate media should be ashamed for pretending as if Officer Casuccio deserves credit for showing “restraint” by not shooting these Black boys.