No good deed goes unpunished.
I wish that weren't true, but it's very true.
Officer Peter Casuccio of Columbus, Ohio is getting some heat after he did the right thing. This isn't a tragic story. It ends with smiles and a grateful mother.
But that doesn't mean the officer gets credit for a job well done. Cops are used to that. They don't get a lot of pats on the back.
Officer Casuccio was called to an incident where two black men were believed to have a gun. Ohio is an open carry state so it wouldn't be illegal to carry the weapon for an adult. But if someone calls it in, the police are obligated to make sure everyone is safe.
Some online have criticized the officer for telling the boys, 11 and 13 years old, that they could have ended up getting shot for being seen brandishing a weapon. When the officer first arrived, the young man with the BB gun pulled it out of his waistband and put it on the ground. Casuccio was understandably nervous when he saw the weapon. When he saw it was a non-lethal weapon, he relaxed but he wasn't going to let the boys off without learning a lesson.
He told the boys that people across the country have been shot and killed for similar incidents. I don't think that cops are above the law. If they go too far, or shoot an unarmed person, I believe there should be consequences.
But when officers see a weapon of any kind, I expect them to react quickly to protect themselves and everyone else in the area. I don't want a police officer spending time trying to figure out how dangerous someone is and ending up the one on the wrong side of a shooting.
If you point a weapon at an officer, you should expect them to respond in kind.
When he spoke to the boys, the officer told them he didn't want to shoot anyone, especially not kids. What they did could have caused him to react very differently and their lives could have been ended or changed forever.
He said he didn't want to shoot anyone, but he would because his job forced him to be a bad hombre sometimes.
One of his critics was Ronnie A. Dunn, the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Cleveland State University.
"He could have addressed the boys differently and not used language such as 'boy' and 'hombre,'" Dunn said.
Well, I think they will recover from hearing the word hombre. If the worst thing this officer did was use the word hombre, I would call this interaction a win.
Even Dunn agreed.
"At the end of the day, the officer used appropriate restraint, and de-escalation techniques to disarm the subjects, investigate and resolve, without the use-of-deadly-force,” Dunn said.
There have been so many stories about officers who didn't react as well. We need to celebrate the fact that most officers do a great job every day, and when an officer faces a situation that could have gone wrong and didn't, we should make sure it is noted.