Police Continue To Kill Children, Despite Claiming To Keep Them Safe

do not cross police barricade tape close up
Zain Murdock
April 15, 2024

In September 2022, San Bernardino police killed 15-year-old Savannah Graziano. She was a reported kidnapping victim they were supposed to rescue. When she exited a vehicle and followed their instructions, they shot her instead.

These same California police have been under fire for their racist social media posts and unlawful arrests as well as for the recent killing of another 15-year-old.

In March 2024, a San Bernardino deputy shot and killed Ryan Gainer, an autistic Black child outside his own home. Officers at the scene were even familiar with him. The intersection of Blackness and disability was critical here. The treatment of children, in particular, by police, is concerning. 

Incidents like these don’t happen in isolation.

Though Graziano wasn’t Black, we can draw a connection to Black children nationwide who go missing, too—and who don’t get found.

The criminalization of Black youth is dangerous, from neglectful investigation processes to adultification. And Black children, missing or not, are also six times more likely to be fatally shot by police.

Young people become the face of campaigns for tougher policing, stricter crime bills, and more funding. But from School Resource Officers in schools and kidnapping investigations to police responding to 911 calls, cops can kill children, too. 

Justice for teens like Gainer and Graziano means fighting for child safety no matter who is behind the violence—even if it’s who claims to protect them.