Thursday, the Center for Policing Equity released the following statement on the shooting of Thomas (T.J.) Siderio in Philadelphia:
Thomas Siderio, a 12-year-old boy also known as T.J was fatally shot in the back by plainclothes police officers in South Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The officers report that T.J. was shot as he ran from the scene of a shooting, during which a bullet entered their unmarked vehicle. The officers maintain that Thomas was holding a gun as he ran.
According to the Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Naish, the officers were not equipped with body cameras.
It is tragic that armed officers faced with a child who was running away determined that the only recourse available to them was to shoot that child in the back. Our failure to imagine pathways to better outcomes for children navigating difficult circumstances is an abdication of our moral responsibility as a society. It is a failure we have repeated for generations.
Our deepest condolences go out to T.J.’s family and the entire South Philadelphia community that must now grapple with such traumatic loss.
This incident echoes so many similar shootings that have resulted in heart wrenching loss of life – particularly of Black and Brown people – and serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to redesign public safety systems and end the cycle of failures that steals children from their childhoods. All Americans have the right to communities that are safe, with vulnerable communities in most urgent need.
We stand with those who feel the immense pain of T.J.’s killing and who must now fight for accountability, and remain steadfast in our commitment to redesigning public safety so that these deaths no longer occur, and children like T.J. can just be children.