The situation is eerily, scarily familiar.
Two young brothers from Parma, Ohio, were playing in a park with a pair of BB guns when police were called to the scene.
According to the Washington Post, the orange tips that normally distinguish the toys from a real gun had been removed. A 911 caller reported the boys, and officers were sent to the scene.
In surveillance footage from the February 2016 incident, the brothers are seen raising their hands and walking slowly toward the police, the Post notes, before they are patted down, handcuffed and charged with inducing panic.
The case has unnerving similarities to that of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun in November 2014 in a Cleveland park when police were called to the scene. Officers shot and killed the child within seconds of arriving at the park.
Fortunately, in the case of the Parma brothers, no was was killed. However, the prosecutor of the case found the incident so similar to Tamir's that he objected to a motion by the brothers' attorneys to dismiss the charges before a Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court judge last week.
“We had a young boy playing with a gun, and the results were disastrous for that family and for the community as a whole,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Linda Gaines Herman said to the court, according to Cleveland.com. “We have an obligation to have a dialogue about something as simple as this and how it can go from simple to tragic in a very short period of time.”
The judge, Je'Nine Nickerson, has yet to decide whether the charges will be dismissed; the hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19. In the meantime, Nickerson ordered the brothers to write essays about Tamir.
“It is a very fine line when people have to make split-second decisions as to what is a BB gun and what is a gun,” Nickerson told the court. “When a police officer has to respond, in this particular climate, you are putting yourself at risk. You have to understand that your actions have consequences.”
The Washington Post notes that one huge difference in the boys' case is that officers from the Parma Police Department were told about the possibilities they could be met with, including the fact that the guns might not be real and that there were kids involved.
In Tamir's case, although the 911 caller told the operator that the person was "probably a juvenile" and that the gun he had was "probably fake," that information was never relayed to the officers. Instead, the dispatcher merely told officers that there was a "black male" who kept on pointing a gun at people.
According to Fox 8, both boys admitted to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, and they must report in their essays for the judge how their cases are similar to and different from Tamir's. Both boys are required to perform community service, and the 15-year-old must pay court costs of more than $160, while his now 13-year-old brother will pay $150.
“[He] understands that something as innocent as boys playing with BB guns could cause a significant amount of alarm, and put not only others but the boys who have those BB guns in danger,” the lawyer of the youngest boy, Edward Borkowski, said, according to Cleveland.com. “Going through this process, coming to the court, certainly has had an impact on him.”