Tamir Rice, 12, was carrying a toy gun when Cleveland police officers pulled up next to him and shot him dead.
Last week, reporters obtained the full footage of the aftermath of the shooting, and the footage is shocking.
The officers stopped Tamir’s 14-year-old sister as she ran to help him, knocked her to the ground, wrestled her, held her down, handcuffed her, and stuffed her in their squad car as her brother lay dying 10 feet away.
An attorney representing the Rice family, Walter Madison said, “This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen.”
After shooting Rice, the officers failed to administer first aid for four minutes, letting Tamir bleed out. An FBI agent eventually showed up on the scene and administered aid.
Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed Rice, had a record of mental instability and was fired from a different police force earlier in his career for his “dismal” gun performance.
In fact, he had been rejected by several police departments after he was terminated from the Independence Police Department in Ohio after a long list of documented failures.
Due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to
manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment.
Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed.
Ptl. Loehmann’s lack of commitment for his future here at Independence is disconcerting. Although saying he is happy to be here, he seems to be considering other options.
For these reasons, I am recommending he be released from the employment of the City of Independence. I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.
One police department rejected him because he scored a 46 on a written entrance exam out of a possible 100 when the lowest acceptable score was a 70.
In an occupation filled with red flags, Loehmann’s flag rose above the rest; deemed immature, incapable, unstable and incorrigible.
Except, of course, for the Cleveland Police Department, who apparently scrape the bottom of the barrel for recruits, which resulted in a scathing report from the United States Department of Justice that determined the agency was plagued with “structural and systemic deficiencies and practices – including insufficient accountability, inadequate training, ineffective policies, and inadequate engagement with the community.”
After numerous rejections, including from the New York City Police Department, Loehmann had found his home in Cleveland, a move that benefited him, according to his father, a retired NYPD cop, who told reporters his son was looking for “more action.”
On November 22, 2014, eight months after he was hired, he found that action when he killed Rice, who was playing with a pellet gun on a playground.
The officers claimed they ordered Rice to place his hands in the air, but the boy reached for his waistband and they shot him.
“He reached for his waistband” is a phrase many police officers have used after shooting an unarmed suspect, even when the suspect had no weapon.
The Cleveland police officers were responding to a call about someone with a gun in the area. The caller reported a young man walking around pointing a gun and said it was “probably fake,” but police say the dispatcher never told the officers the gun could be fake.
Cleveland police also claim Tamir was told to raise his hands three times, but the boy was shot within two seconds of the cruiser pulling up next to him. Tamir had been playing with an airsoft gun which shoots small plastic pellets.
Walter Madison said the new footage depicts officers who showed “overwhelming indifference” to Tamir as he lay on the ground.
“No one thinks that it’s appropriate to try to save him,” Madison said. “The first person who does is not affiliated with the Cleveland police department. This is the level of service that makes people very upset and distrustful of law enforcement.”
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting. A failure to indict Officer Loehmann could incite the next wave of protests around the nation.