|Tamir Rice, 12 years old|
Video shows Cleveland officer shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice within seconds
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CLEVELAND, Ohio-- The video showing the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice is horrific, heartbreaking and hopefully an impetus for changes in police tactics, dispatch procedures and the manufacturing of toy guns.
The video shows the tragic end result of two Cleveland police officers responding to a lethally incomplete and inaccurate dispatch call of a man pointing a gun at the Cudell recreation center park. The 'man' was 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
The 'gun' was an Airsoft toy gun without the orange toy indicator cap on the end. Like helpless guardian angels watching from the sky, viewers see the last movements of a boy who is oblivious that his life is about to suddenly end. Tamir can be seen standing on the sidewalk and sitting at a picnic table, aimlessly pointing his toy gun, seemingly at the empty loneliness that hangs in the air as cold as the white snow covering the ground, that in seconds will be red with all of a life yet to be lived.
Moments after Tamir puts his toy gun in his waistband and walks out of the gazebo he was sitting in, a Cleveland police cruiser speeds into view, cutting off Tamir's path. Within two seconds of the passenger door flying open and Tamir reaching to his waistband, he is fatally shot by 26-year-old rookie officer Timothy Loehmann.
It happened so fast Tamir stopped moving before even the police cruiser did. While Tamir is shot, lying on the ground, Officer Loehmann can be seen darting to the rear of the cruiser for cover. His partner, Cleveland Police veteran Frank Garmback, goes to the front passenger side of the car and points his gun at the already subdued Tamir. First aid isn't administered until 4 minutes later by an FBI agent working a nearby case. Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the release of the tape "is not an effort to exonerate." The word that comes to mind when seeing a 12-year-old with a toy gun fatally shot by a rookie cop within two seconds of encountering him is not "exonerate." Tomba said,
"We've got two officers that were out there protecting the public that just had to , you know, do something that nobody wants to do." But the original 9-1-1 call and the video raises doubts about whether they really had "to do something nobody wants to do". That original 9-1-1 caller to police said twice it may be a kid and the gun he was pointing was probably fake. This critical information was never relayed to the responding officers.
Would it have altered their tactics and approach? Would the responding officers in the infamous chase incident responded differently if the dispatch call said "reported shots fired-possible car backfire." It's more than a little troubling that this incident happened after the reckless police chase that left two unarmed people dead in hail of police bullets.
Reportedly,the cruiser flying up on the lawn, coming within two-feet of Tamir, was a tactic intended to cut off his intended escape path. It did that, but the speed in which cruiser moved and the officer shot, also appears to have cut off any time for Tamir to respond cooperatively.
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