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Officer Blasted For Responding To Call Of Armed Teens With An AR-15

A call coming in to 911 in Asheville, North Carolina reported that three armed teens were outside of a woman's home. Police officers showed up to investigate the complaint, and one confronted the teens with an AR-15 rifle. A video of the officer went viral, and already people are calling for him to lose his job because the teens were carrying a BB gun.

The police were dispatched to an area where gun crimes are a problem after a woman’s said she spotted teens outside of her home 'waving a gun around'. The officers had no idea what kind of scene they would find, so they came prepared. Officer Shalin Oza armed himself with an AR-15 and he and the other officers approached the teens.

Officer Brandon Shope, who was with Oza, questioned the teens. As it turned out, the teens were only carrying a BB gun. They were horrified that the officer approached them with an assault rifle in public in broad daylight and caught him on video. The teens felt that the officer was trying to intimidate them as he stood with his finger on the trigger.

After the teens posted the video online, it went viral. People who are against assault-style rifles were furious that police were using them on a call involving youths. Some people even put a petition up at Change.org for Oza's termination.

The petition alleges that Oza 'physically assaulted' a 16-year-old biracial girl in 2016. A video of the confrontation, which went viral the time, shows the officer attempting to subdue the teen, who was resisting arrest.

The petition goes on to claim that Oza was now 'filmed brandishing an AR-15 assault rifle and threatening underage black children in a crowded residential neighborhood'.

"After several official complaints to the Department about this officer have gone unanswered, the time has come to demand Oza's termination from his position at the Asheville Police Department due to a history of unprofessionalism and failure to uphold the Department's Code of Conduct and Use of Force policy. This change will protect the citizens of the City of Asheville from his reckless and dangerous behavior," the petition concludes.

Some 704 signatures were obtained, but others have criticized the knee-jerk reaction to the firearm. Captain Mark Byrd of the Asheville Police Department stood behind the officer.

“Our focus always is public safety,” Byrd said. “We respond to situations with public safety in mind. We want to protect the safety of everyone in the community — it’s our job, it’s what we’re tasked with."

The very school near which the confrontation took place had six different incidents of gunfire in the two weeks prior to Oza following up on the call with an AR-15. The incidents were all involving black male teenagers. Once the officers discovered that in this specific incident the young men had a BB gun, they released the young men without charges.

“We only are privy to information the caller may provide at the time and what type of description they give us. When they talk about three individuals, one is waving a gun in the air, we have a person with a gun, we don’t know what type of situation we’re getting ourselves into,” said Byrd.

"When you’re responding to an incident, you don’t know if the gun is real or not. If you go to a toy store and look at replicas, or BB guns, they’re almost identical to service weapons that we carry.”

Source: AGG
Photos: YouTube,

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