STL Co. Police Apologize For ‘Insensitive’ Post On Cleveland Police Shooting

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December 4, 2014 3:05 p.m.

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.”

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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.

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