Bodycam Footage Shows Akron Police Shooting Black Teen Holding Fake Gun

Photo: Getty Images

A family is seeking justice after Akron, Ohio police shot a 15-year-old Black teenager who was holding a fake gun, drawing parallels to the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, per Newsone.

The shooting unfolded on April 1 after a woman called 911 to report a teen, later identified as Tavion Koonce-Williams, pointing a gun at homes in the Goodyear Heights neighborhood.

“He pulled it (the gun) out and acted like he was going to shoot their houses,” the woman told a 911 dispatcher.

She didn’t say any shots were fired or note that any people were in danger.

Body camera footage shows an Akron officer spotting the teen upon arrival at the scene. The officer asked the boy where he was coming from and ordered him to show his hands.

As he was exiting his vehicle, the officer shot the teen in the hand.

“Shots fired, shots fired,” the officer said, per body camera footage.

“It’s fake. It’s fake, it’s fake,” the child responded.

The officer ordered the teen to get on the ground and handcuffed him. He removed the handcuffs after noticing blood coming from the boy’s gunshot wound.

“It’s a fake gun, I promise,” the boy said. “I came from my cousin’s funeral.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has launched an investigation into the shooting. Akron Mayor Shammas Malik released the bodycam footage and identified the officer as 33-year-old Ryan Westlake “in an effort to be as transparent as possible.”

Attorney Imokhai Okolo, who is representing Koonce-Williams’ family, said the family seeks “justice and accountability” for the shooting.

“The Koonce and Williams family are heartbroken and seek justice and accountability for lack of humanity that was shown to Tavion on April 1, 2024,” Okolo said. “How is it that a 15-year-old child could be gunned down just a block from his grandmother’s home while his hands were up doing exactly what the police officer asked him to do? What could possibly justify the inhumane treatment of a child? Black boys deserve to grow up and live without the threat of walking home and being shot by the police. Black boys deserve to be treated with dignity and humanity. Tavion deserved better—the community deserves better.”

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