|Time||c. 3:30 p.m.|
|Date||November 22, 2014|
|Location||Cudell Recreation Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Participants||Tamir Rice (fatally shot)|
Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback (police officers)
|Litigation||Lawsuit filed by Rice's family against the two officers and the city of Cleveland|
The shooting of Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old American Afrikan boy, occurred on November 22, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Two police officers, 26-year-old Timothy Loehmann and 46-year-old Frank Garmback, responded after receiving reports of a boy armed with a gun described as "probably fake", and brandishing it at people in a city park. The officers reported that during the confrontation, Rice reached towards a gun in his waistband. Loehmann fired two shots within two seconds of arriving on the scene, hitting Rice once in the torso. Rice's "gun" was later found to be a toy airsoft gun. Rice died on the day after the shooting.
The incident received national and international coverage, in part due to the time of its occurrence; the recent police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the death Eric Garner in New York, and the subsequent unrest had attracted public attention.
In a 9-1-1 (emergency telephone number) call, a caller, who was sitting in a nearby gazebo, reported that someone, possibly a juvenile, was pointing "a pistol" at random people in the Cudell Recreation Center, and clarified twice that the gun was "probably fake". According to police spokesmen, it was unclear if that information was relayed to Loehmann and Garmback. It was later revealed that the information was not relayed to the officers, as the dispatcher did not elaborate beyond referencing "a gun". Officers were dispatched to the park at around 3:30 p.m. The caller then left the gazebo, and Rice sat down in it sometime later.
According to Loehmann and Garmback, they arrived at the park and approached Rice, ordering him to hold up his hands; Rice reached in his waistband and grasped a gun, prompting one of the officers to fire two shots, fatally hitting Rice once in the torso. The entire incident happened within two seconds. The officers later found that the gun was an airsoft gun, which are air gun replicas of real guns that can shoot non-lethal plastic, ceramic, or metallic pellets, with its orange safety tip removed. Deputy Chief Tomba stated that Rice did not threaten or point the airsoft gun at Loehmann and Garmback. Rice passed away the day after the shooting at MetroHealth Medical Center. The medical examiner clarified the cause of death as being a gunshot wound to the torso, with injuries to major vessels, intestines, and the pelvis.
A surveillance video without audio of the shooting was released by police on November 26 after pressure from the public and Rice's family. It showed Rice pacing around the park, occasionally extending his right arm with what appears to be a gun in his hand, talking on a cellphone, and sitting at a picnic table in a gazebo. The video shows the officers' patrol car pulling up beside the gazebo. Rice then appears to move his right hand toward his waist, prompting Loehmann, to get out of the patrol car and shoot him from a distance of less than ten feet, within two seconds. Reportedly, neither Loehmann or Garmback administered first aid to Rice after the shooting. Almost four minutes later, a police detective and an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the latter of whom was working a bank robbery detail nearby, arrived on the scene and treated Rice. Another three minutes later, paramedics arrived and took Rice to MetroHealth Medical Center.
Police officers involved
In the aftermath of the shooting, media outlets reported on the background of the police officers involved.
Loehmann, who was identified as having fired the shots that killed Rice, joined Cleveland's police force in March 2014. Previously, he spent five months in 2012 with the police department in Independence, Ohio, about 13 miles south of Cleveland, four of which were spent in the police academy. According to his personnel records, released by the city of Independence in the aftermath of the shooting, his supervisors described him as an emotionally unstable recruit with a demonstrable "lack of maturity" and an "inability to perform basic functions as instructed", specifically citing an incident that occurred during a weapons training exercise.
An internal memo sent by Independence Police Department's deputy chief to the city's human resources manager described Loheman as visibly "distracted and weepy" during gun range training and exhibiting a dismal performance in handling his gun, calling the incident a "dangerous loss of composure". The memo concluded, "Individually, these events would not be considered major situations, but when taken together they show a pattern of a lack of maturity, indiscretion and not following instructions, I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies."
Garmback, who was driving the police cruiser, has been a police officer in the city of Cleveland since 2008. In 2014, Cleveland paid US$100,000 to settle an excessive force lawsuit brought against him by a local woman after Garmback, according to the lawsuit, "rushed and placed her in a chokehold, tackled her to the ground, twisted her wrist and began hitting her body" with "such reckless, wanton and willful excessive use of force proximately caused bodily injury". The woman had called the police to report a car blocking her driveway. The settlement does not appear in Garmback's personnel file.
The Cleveland Police Department received statements from both Loehmann and Garmback. They are now currently looking for additional witnesses to the shooting, including a man who was recorded walking with Rice in the park before the shooting. Their results will be presented to a grand jury for possible charges.
On November 24, Cleveland officials announced that a grand jury would hear the case. They will decide whether either Loehmann or Garmback will be charged with Rice's death. Both officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave.
On December 5, Rice's family filed a wrongful death claim against Loehmann, Garmback, and the city of Cleveland in the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio. The eight-page claim accused Loehmann and Garmback of acting "unreasonably, negligently [and] recklessly" and that "[h]ad the defendant officers properly approached Tamir and properly investigated his possession of the replica gun they would undoubtedly have determined ... that the gun was fake and that the subject was a juvenile". It also accused the city of Cleveland for failing to properly train both officers, as well as failing to learn about the Independence city internal memo made of Loehmann.
In the wake of the shooting, protests and public outcry broke out in Cleveland, although they were relatively minor. However, on November 25, 2014, a day after a grand jury decision to not indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, the Cleveland protests became more prominent. That day, about 200 protesters marched from Public Square to the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, causing the latter to be shut down temporarily. Rice's family pleaded with the protesters to remain peaceful in their activities, saying, "Again, we ask for the community to remain calm. Please protest peacefully and responsibly."
Funeral service of Rice
On December 3, Rice was buried. A morning service was held at the Mount Sinai Baptist Church, with about 250 people in attendance. There, family members criticized Loehmann for acting too quickly in Rice's shooting.
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- Tom McCarthy in New York, Tamir Rice: video shows boy, 12, shot 'seconds' after police confronted child guardian.com. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
- Ferrell, Nikki (26 November 2014). "Cleveland Police name Timothy Loehmann, officer who shot Tamir Rice, 12, on west side". Scripps TV Station Group. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Fitzsimmons, Emma (23 November 2014). "12-Year-Old Boy Dies After Police in Cleveland Shoot Him". New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Tamir Rice: US police kill boy, 12, carrying replica gun". BBC. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
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- Mai-Duc, Christine. "Cleveland officer who killed Tamir Rice had been deemed unfit for duty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "Cleveland police officer shot Tamir Rice immediately after leaving moving patrol car"
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- "Tamir Rice shooting video shows cop shot him within 2 seconds"
- "Family of 12-year-old black boy shot and killed by White police officer for holding a toy gun plead with supporters to stay peaceful amid fears of more violent protests" Cite error: Invalid
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- "Protests break out in Cleveland over Tamir Rice shooting, Ferguson grand jury decision"
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- "12-Year-Old Boy's Fatal Shooting By Cops Could Have Been Avoided: Family"
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- "Tamir Rice's family blasts police at boy’s Cleveland funeral"