An Akron, Ohio, barbershop owner had enough of one young white man who was walking around the neighborhood with a rifle on his back, so he confronted the 25-year-old outside his shop on Thursday and called the police, Cleveland.com reports.
Deone Slater, owner of Kangaroo Kutz, did not want Daniel Kovacevic in front of his shop that morning. “He was a threat to my community,” Slater told the news site. “If I can prevent him from shooting up the city, I would. I won’t condone it. Somebody’s got to stand up.”
Police arrived shortly after and tried to calm Slater, who was reportedly shouting at Kovacevic.
“[Slater] was obviously emotional and concerned about his safety and the safety of everyone in the community,” Police Sgt. Doug Sandor said.
“I told [Kovacevic] to take his guns off,” Slater said. “I told him let me have five or 10 minutes with him without his weapons.”
Slater also called officers out for trying to calm him instead of engaging with Kovacevic. “[The police] asked me why do I have a problem,” Slater said. “He’s a threat to me and my people. He’s a threat to me.
“[The police] were more concerned about me than him, as if I were the threat,” he added. “It it were me with a gun, they would have shut the whole block down.”
Officers are claiming that they have their hands tied—even as Akron police spokesman Lt. Rick Edwards acknowledged that the man has been spotted in predominantly black communities—because of Ohio’s gun laws, which allow open carry.
Some, however, aren’t too thrilled with the police response and suggest that race may be a factor in the toned-down response, especially considering the deaths of Tamir Rice and John Crawford, both of whom were shot in Ohio by police while carrying toy weapons.
“It’s different if it’s a black person. People say it isn’t, but it is,” one person, 26-year-old Traneece Johnson, told the site, referencing Tamir. “[Kovacevic] was approached, and they gave him a chance to speak and say he was expressing his right. The little boy didn’t get that chance.”