Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy from Cleveland, was shot dead by responding officers who were called to a playground Saturday via a 911 call of a “guy with a pistol,” who was “pointing it at everybody.” When Rice reached for the weapon that was tucked into his waistband, he was gunned down with a single bullet to the gut. He died under hospital care late Saturday.
Writes the NY Times on Nov. 24: :The boy, Tamir E. Rice, died on Sunday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office said. He was shot in the torso at a park on Saturday after witnesses reported that he was waving a gun around and pointing it at people, the police said.”
Initial details of the shooting, including the released 911 recording, showed that the caller made emergency despatchers aware, on two separate occasions, that the gun was “probably fake.” However, this information was never relayed to the two officers who arrived at the Cudell Recreation Center on the city’s west side. The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association confirmed that neither of the officers, who have both been placed on administrative leave, were advised that the potential weapon in play may only have been a replica.
Family lawyer Timothy Kucharski said he is independently investigating “how exactly an innocent young 12-year-old boy could be killed playing at the park,” adding that Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, is “devastated” and called on the community to pray and rally around Samaria, who lives across the street from where the shooting occurred. Samaria Rice said that she is unaware of how her son came to have a replica pistol.
“We’d love to have the prayers of the community right now,” Kucharski said. “The police have to address these things in the proper context. This is a 12-year-old boy. This is not a grown man. I’d think you would handle situations with children differently than you would with an adult. They don’t fully understand everything that is going on.”
Adds Newsday, carrying a report from The Associated Press: “Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said one officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon — which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle — from his waistband but had not pointed it at police. The boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Tomba said.”
What are your thoughts? Did the officers respond in the proper manner to 12-year-old Tamir Rice?