St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar apologized Thursday for an “insensitive” Facebook post his department shared about the police shooting of a 12-year-old in Cleveland.
The department took heat earlier Thursday morning when it blasted out a post titled “Kids will be Kids?” that encouraged parents to discuss with children who have toy guns how to respond if a police officer approaches them. The post used the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice by a white Cleveland police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon as a jumping off point.
“The intention of the post was to inform citizens about the potential danger of airsoft or pellet guns resembling real guns,” Belmar said in a statement. “However, the post was a misguided communication strategy and was offensive to many people.”
“As Chief of Police, I apologize to Tamir’s family and anyone who was offended by the post,” he said, adding that its message “was insensitive to Tamir’s family and the sorrow they are currently experiencing.”
Belmar also said that the department would be revising its social media policy to prevent such mistakes in the future. The Facebook post that caused such a stir was written by an officer in the City of Fenton Precinct, and Belmar said he was unaware of the post until it went live.