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Akron, Ohio, officer shoots 15-year-old boy who was holding a fake gun

Body camera video shows the moment a police officer shot a 15-year old boy immediately after arriving on the scene.
Akron, Ohio officer shoots 15-year-old boy who was holding a fake gun
Posted at 8:52 PM, Apr 10, 2024

A police shooting in Akron, Ohio of a 15-year-old boy is drawing some criticism. Body camera footage released by the department shows the officer ordering Tavion Koonce-Williams to put his hands up.

The officer was responding to reports of a person pointing a gun at houses. Seconds later, the officer fired a single shot, hitting the teen in the hand. Video shows Williams was holding something that looked like a gun when the officer fired, but it turned out to be a toy gun. You can hear Williams on the body camera yelling, "It’s fake, it’s fake!"

Shortly after the incident, Akron police uncuffed Williams and gave him medical treatment. While on the ground Williams told officers, "I'm a good kid bro, I get A's in school. I play football. I just wanted to be safe, my cousin just died."

Williams' grandmother, Karen Robinson, said she's angry about the shooting and believes police overreacted. Robinson said, "I believe he was just being a boy. I don't believe he was aiming as if to say, 'I'd like to shoot this one.'"

A local community organization said in a statement that the officer should be fired. Police records show the officer involved in the shooting was previously fired from the department in 2021 for several policy violations — including threatening his girlfriend with a firearm.   

He was rehired after a negotiation between the city, the police department and the local police union — which has proven to be a common occurrence in law enforcement across the country.

A Washington Post investigation revealed that from 2006 to 2017, the nation's largest police departments fired at least 1,800 officers then agreed to reinstate more than 450 of those same officers after appeals. A similar study from the Vanderbilt Law Review found about 46% of firings by police departments are reversed in arbitration.

In this case, The Akron police union says it stands by the officer and added that while the public may have concerns about the officer's personnel file, "it does not change the fact [the shooting] was objectively reasonable."

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