Cleveland police union pursuing lawsuit against toy gun manufacturers

Cleveland police union considers lawsuit over toy guns

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - "This isn't a publicity stunt," said attorney Henry Hilow.

When it comes to toy or replica guns, Hilow argues you can't tell the difference until it's too late.

"We all have preconceived notions about what a toy guns is, but in these situations, it's not until the situation is over and the individual has an opportunity to pick up and hold that item do they come to learn that is a toy gun," Hilow said.

That's why Hilow, who represents the Cleveland Police Union, wants to sue the toy gun manufacturers. He wants them to make a distinct difference between the toy guns and the real guns.

"Oversize it. Make it to such a degree by manufacture that you can tell on-site that it is not a gun, nor can it be confused as a gun."

Hilow argues this doesn't stem from one specific case, but rather a wide-spread problem. The issue of toy guns has been in the forefront since Tamir Rice was shot and killed. He had an airsoft gun. One of the officers shot and killed rice seconds after arriving on scene.

Hilow says the police union doesn't want money out of the lawsuit, they just want a change that will protect police and citizens from the confusion over what is real and what is a replica.

"If you don't react and you guess wrong, someone gets hurt. That's an innocent victim. If you do react and you guess wrong, someone gets hurt. We don't want that either."

Hilow says they have heard from law enforcement agencies here in Ohio and outside of the state. He expects to file the lawsuit in the next couple of months.

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