Late last year, Tamir Rice was shot dead by police officers while playing with a toy gun at a Cleveland park. That shooting death sent shockwaves through the community and sparked protests. Tamir, who was 12 years old at the time, was just a kid, doing what kids do: playing with what cops thought was real.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, NBA superstar LeBron James discussed how he has spoken to his young sons about Tamir’s killing and playing with toy guns. “I have those conversations with my boys. They have tons of play guns. None of them look real. We have Nerf guns that are lime green and purple and yellow. But I don’t even let them take them out of the house,” James stated.
He went on to describe a conversation that so many other black parents have with their children when it comes to being stopped by police so that they’ll make it home safely:
And the talk is, “You be respectful, you do what’s asked and you let them do their job, and we’ll take care of the rest after. You don’t have to boast and brag and automatically think it’s us against the police.” I’ve had one or two encounters with the police in my life that were nothing. But sometimes you just got to shut up. It’s that simple. Just be quiet and let them do their job and go on about your life, and hopefully things go well.”