A Cleveland police union has filed a federal lawsuit against toy gun manufacturers claiming that their products are becoming too realistic, which they allege is a problem with widespread public safety ramifications because it could lead to the unnecessary use of deadly force.
Henry Hilow, an attorney representing the Cleveland Patrolmen’s Association, claimed that the union is not seeking any sort of payout. Instead, it is hoping to compel manufacturers to adopt designs that do not look realistic.
“These fake weapons put the community at risk, puts law enforcement at risk, something has to be done,” Hilow told WEWS-TV. “The remedy that we’d be looking for is that that gun could not replicate. That that gun would be of such a color have such a tip.”
Cleveland police found themselves at the center of a nationwide firestorm controversy after the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014. They blamed the incident on the fact that Rice was playing with a realistic-looking toy gun at the time of his death after weathering allegations of racism and police brutality.
According to Hilow, police in Cleveland are hoping that the issue gets noticed by other major police departments in cities like Dallas and Columbus that have also been embroiled in similar scandals caused in part by toy guns. He cited a Washington Post study that found that 86 people have been killed by police in the last two years alone due to fake gun mixups.