In a graphic video released to the media, Tamir Rice’s mother wants you to see her 12-year-old son senselessly gunned down in a park by Cleveland police for playing with a toy gun.
Following a 911 call, police arrived at Cudell Recreation Center at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The caller told the dispatcher he saw a man, wearing a camo hat and a gray jacket, waving a gun around.
The caller says: “The guy keeps pulling it out. It’s probably fake, but you know what, he’s scaring the s*** out of (inaudible). He’s sitting on the swing right now, but he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants and pointing it at people. Probably a juvenile, you know. I don’t know if it’s real or not, you know?”
We now know it wasn’t. It was actually a replica ‘airsoft’ gun. Airsoft guns fire spherical plastic pellets and have bright orange tips to show they aren’t real firearms, which police say wasn’t visible.
Cleveland officer Timothy Loehmann, 26, fired the fatal shot within 1.5 seconds after his partner Frank Garmback, 46, parked the police cruiser.
Open letter by Rice’s parents:
We respectfully request that Mayor Frank Jackson and the City of Cleveland Division of Police release the complete video of the incident involving our son, Tamir E. Rice, and two unnamed patrol officers on Nov. 22, 2014
‘The news of Tamir’s death has devastated our family. Tamir was a bright young man who had his whole life ahead of him. This is a tragedy in our eyes.He was a loving brother. He was a grandson. He was a nephew and cousin. His favorite sport was basketball. Tamir often visited the Cudell Recreation Center to play with friends.’
‘Most of all, he enjoyed being around people. Everyone loved him.The holiday season begins this week. Instead of the love, fellowship and joy the season brings to many families, we will be mourning the loss of Tamir. We looked forward to spending Thanksgiving with Tamir as a family. His mother’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. Now, she won’t have the opportunity to share it with her son. We feel he did not deserve to be taken away from us.While we request the release of the complete video, we also ask for the media to give our family privacy as we continue to grieve and learn about what happened.
‘We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son’s life must be made public.It is our prayer and request for citizens in the City of Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio to remain calm at this time. We ask for the public to demonstrate peacefully.Though the hurt our family feels is too painful for words to describe, we still have faith in the justice system. We thank the community for their prayers, encouragement and support. It has helped us during this difficult time.We will release information about Tamir’s funeral in the days to come. We have no further comment at this time.
State lawmakers plan to propose legislation requiring all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent fluorescent strips.
Watch the video after the jump. Warning, it’s graphic!