During a police raid of Occupy Oakland last week, an Oakland police officer shot a four-year-old girl directly in the face while she was fast asleep in her mother’s arms.
According to police reports, when asked to unlock arms with her mother and peacefully vacate the premises, the little girl was “uncooperative,” even going so far as to insult the police officer by “forcibly inserting her thumb into her mouth and sucking in a suggestive manner.”
After Officer John Cameron pulled his weapon and the sleeping child refused to relocate, he unloaded his 9 mm handgun into her face.
“It’s not like I wanted to aim my gun at her face and pull the trigger,” Cameron said. “But when you feel that you’re in danger as an officer, sometimes you just have to aim and fire at the nearest threat, even if she’s four years old and sleeping.”
Harvey Goldspurn, Deputy Police Chief of the Oakland Police Department, has publicly defended Cameron, stating that it is not entirely uncommon for officers to shoot little girls out of self-defense in these tense situations.
“When an officer’s life is in danger like that, he’s trained to pull the trigger,” Goldspurn said. “There isn’t time to consider variables like, ‘Oh, maybe this person is sleeping,’ or ‘I wonder if this toddler is armed.’”
While Officer Cameron has repeatedly claimed that everything he did was for his own safety and that of innocent civilians, protesters on the scene have called into question the severity of his actions.
“I guess the little girl probably should have moved. I mean I don’t even think it’s legal to sleep on a public street in Oakland, even if you’re in your mother’s arms,” said witness George Parry. “But I guess I don’t understand why the policeman pepper sprayed her after he had already shot her in the head — she really didn’t seem like a threat to me when she hit the ground.”
Officer Cameron has defended his decision to pepper spray the dead toddler when she hit the cement by saying that she was still sort of interlocking arms with her mother, which created a dangerous obstacle that could have impeded the flow of pedestrian traffic.