The details of the Cleveland Police officer’s shooting and killing of a 12-year-old boy in November are unclear, as to whether or not he actually said anything before he fired at the youth. The boy was carrying a pellet gun when the officer mistook it for a real gun. Tamir Rice had been shot twice in front of a recreational facility, and died the next day at the hospital.
Timothy Loehmann and his partner were investigating a 911 call placed by a concerned citizen. The unidentified caller stated that it was more than likely a kid with a toy gun, but the caller could not be sure and stated that the individual kept pulling it out and scaring people by pointing it straight at them. In the surveillance video, it took approximately three seconds for him to hit the ground from the time the police car came to a stop.
On Saturday June 14, the prosecutor released official documents with facts about the seconds leading up to the shooting, as well as the accounts of first responders. They were all stunned when young Rice had his life cut tragically short at a center for youths. Police officials in Cleveland reported that rookie officer Loehmann had ordered Rice to put his hands up three times, but when Rice reached for his pellet gun he had shoved in his waistband the officer fired at the boy. The details that the Cleveland police officer and his partner reported are still unclear. A rough video on the Cleveland’s officer’s police car shows the details of the shooting of the 12-year-old to be unclear. It is very difficult to tell if Loehmann was able to say anything to Rice before he tragically shot him, said the prosecutor.
Loehmann reported that he did the only thing he could have done. His colleagues stated that officer was only a rookie at the time of the shooting; however, he was extremely distressed as soon as he noticed the boy was so young, and that he only had a toy gun. Immediately after Rice was shot, he showed remorse and said he reached for his gun, and that gave the rookie no other choice.
Tim McGinty, the lead prosecutor on the case, told reporters on Saturday that he announced the results because of the importance of being as clear as possible in a case such as this. When a civilian is killed from a lethal force by law and enforcement, however, it should have a great deal of public inspection regarding the facts.
This is only one in many cases involving a black youth and the use of excessive force, which has started controversy across the country. The prosecutor stated that he will bring the Cleveland Police officer who shot, killed the 12-year-old to the grand jury. Of the number of cases all over the country, they all have the disturbing coincidence of having the victim be a black man or youth, and a white police officer being the one to administer the lethal force. Rice was a black youth, and the rookie officer was definitely white.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
BI: Cleveland police officer who shot and killed a 12-year-old boy: He gave me no choice
gawker.com: Video: cop shot 12-year-old 2 seconds after arriving at park
ABC EN: Documents detail police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice
Photo courtesy of The All-Nite images Flickr page – Creative Commons License