The Huffington Post reports that 13-year-old Jimmell Cannon was in serious to critical condition late Monday after being shot eight times by Chicago police officers, who say he was holding a BB gun. His family tells a different story:

The 13-year-old boy, whose parents describe him as a fun-loving, "straight A-B student," wasn't the victim of gang violence or a crazed attacker. Instead, the gunmen were Chicago police officers.


According to Fox Chicago, police arrived at a park near the Piccolo Specialty School where Jimmell attends to respond to a call of shots fired. They claim Jimmell matched the description of the shooter, so they came after him. He appeared to be holding a weapon in his hand, police say, and when they asked him to lower it, he refused. When he pointed the weapon in the officers' direction, they opened fire. Apparently, eight rounds were required to subdue the 13-year-old.

The weapon they allege he was holding was a BB gun, but the Fraternal Order of Police says that officers handled the situation correctly because toy guns and real ones can be indistinguishable even to trained police officers.

Source: The Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, Jimmell's family says his hands were in the air when he was shot, and he wasn't holding a gun of any kind.


Will a weapon be recovered? If there was a BB gun, should police have known it wasn't a real one? How many shots does it actually take to subdue a 13-year-old kid? This story raises endless questions.

But regardless of the answers, here's the real tragedy: Against the backdrop of seemingly endless stories about the police beating or shooting unarmed people, claiming their victims have weapons that are never discovered, and attempting to destroy evidence of their conduct, whether "officers handled the situation correctly" — particularly when the victim is black — is always an open question. And that's a shame.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

In other news: Somalis Flee Famine Along 'Roads of Death.'

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