Tamir Rice report: Tamir was unarmed; officers shot twice, no warning.
What Everyone Should Know About The Police Killing Of Tamir Rice (2002-2014)
CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Tamir Rice report: witnesses contradict officer on warning
to boy shot dead
Release of investigation account follows ruling on possible murder charge
FBI agent who gave first aid says police officers ‘didn’t know what to do’
Tamir Rice protest
Tamir Rice: judge finds cause for murder charge over police killing of 12-year-old
An Ohio prosecutor released a comprehensive account of the investigation into the death of Tamir Rice on Saturday, including witness reports that contradict a police officer’s claim that he shouted a warning before shooting and killing the 12-year-old boy last November.
Tamir was shot as he played in a Cleveland park, after police responded to a 911 call reporting a male with a firearm. He was playing with a toy plastic gun. The death and a delay in its investigation sparked public outrage and protests.
On Thursday, Cleveland municipal court judge Ronald Adrine said he found probable cause to bring a murder charge against the officer who fired the fatal shot, Timothy Loehmann. Adrine’s ruling, which prosecutors will consider, followed a request to look into the case by a group known as the Cleveland 8, a number of clergymen and local activists who support the Rice family.
In releasing a redacted 224-page account of the investigation by the Cuyahoga County sheriff’s department on Saturday, prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his intention was to be transparent.
“Transparency is essential for an intelligent discussion of the important issues raised by this case,” he said.
“If we wait years for all litigation to be completed before the citizens are allowed to know what actually happened, we will have squandered our best opportunity to institute needed changes in use-of-force policy, police training and leadership.”
The report made no conclusion as to whether the killing was justified, following a statement issued by McGinty on Thursday that a grand jury would ultimately decide whether criminal charges would be brought.
“As unbiased collectors of fact, the investigative team has not, and will not, render any opinion of the legality of the officers’ actions,” the report states.
Loehmann, 26, told investigators that when he arrived at the park and confronted Tamir, he told him several times to put his hands in the air, but the boy instead reached into his waistband and produced what turned out to be a toy gun.
“He gave me no choice, he reached for the gun and there was nothing I could do,” Loehmann said in his incident report.
Other officers at the scene reported that they thought the boy was aged about 20 and that they believed the gun was real.
None of the witnesses whose accounts appear in the report, however, say they heard Loehmann or any other officer shout a warning to Tamir, leaving detectives to conclude that “it is unclear whether Officer Loehmann issued verbal commands”.
A 31-year-old woman, whose name was redacted from the report, told investigators she heard someone shout “Freeze! Show me your hands”, but only after she heard two gunshots. She said she heard a third shot after the shouting.
A 15-year-old boy who knew Tamir said he heard two shots close together and a third a short while later.
Detectives heard from another friend who said he gave the boy the toy gun, which fired small plastic pellets, days before the incident. The friend said he had taken the gun apart and was unable to reattach the highly visible orange cap that would have immediately indicated the gun was not real.
Meanwhile, an FBI agent who was on duty at a separate incident nearby told how he gave Tamir first aid within four minutes of the shooting. The agent said Loehmann and an officer with him seemed to freeze.
“They wanted to do something, but they didn’t know what to do,” the agent told investigators. Tamir died in hospital the next day.
Loehmann declined to be interviewed by the investigators, as did his training partner, Frank Garmback, 47, who was also present at the scene. The grand jury will determine if charges will be brought against him.
Members of the Rice family similarly decided not to be interviewed. Walter Madison, the family’s attorney, could not be reached on Saturday for comment but issued a statement welcoming the report’s release.
“I appreciate the recent work of the Cleveland 8 and all others in this city in their tireless efforts to move the wheels of justice,” he said.
“The Honorable Judge Ronald Adrine swiftly and decisively found probable cause for murder and other homicide offenses. Within 36 hours we now have a public release of the county sheriff’s investigation. Let’s continue this fight for equal justice for all, it is working.”
Steven Loomis, president of the police union representing Loehmann, said he did not agree with the decision to publish the report. McGinty, however, said it was the right thing to do.
“The death of a citizen resulting from the use of deadly force by the police is different from all other cases and deserves a high level of public scrutiny,” he said.
“These cases involve officers [and] public employees whose decision to take a fellow citizen’s life must be evaluated to determine, by law, whether the police officer’s action was reasonable under the circumstances and therefore justifiable.”
Cleveland police have released a video showing the moment that officers shot a 12-year-old boy in a park on Sunday. Tamir Rice can be seen playing in the snow with a pellet gun before sitting at a bench for three minutes. As the police drive up he can be seen standing up and moving the gun at his waist. Two officers get out with their guns drawn and the boy falls, disappearing behind the car. Rice died of his wounds the following day
Warning: this video contains images that some viewers may find distressing
There is no excuse or plausible argument to defend the police who shot this unarmed child.
1. The phone call to 911, was warning of a boy with a pellet gun toy.
2. In any case, there was the possibility to have a negotiator.
3. There is no way to starting to shot a teenager without taking all the precautions.
4. I have kids myself and kids like to play…
5. The society have men that are the “macho” type, however, they like to carry most of the times a phallic device in their hands. The most “man”, bigger the phallic device. The bigger “macho”, the bigger the phallic device.
6. The USA police/men/women, are becoming very well criminal legal institution in the World, just very close behind of the military.
7. His arguments are indefensible
Regardless of the outcome for Tamir, the actions that define the training of police in this case are truly without question unacceptable. The FBI said the 2 police officers had no idea of what to do. Not even basic first aid. Just stand, tremble and watch him bleed. That is Training? Whether commands were issued is debated. What is true is that the officer’s past brings to question “what are the qualifications necessary to become a police officer these days”? Endurance, physical prowess, reaction time. Critical thinking skills? How are they trained to make these decisions they make? What is the thread of reason behind it? And why are they so damn mean? Control through fear?….Watching this Republic being sold out by politicians to corporations who are changing it into something dark, deceptive and oppressive is like watching a cancer patient you love slowly wither away….
I firmly believe that the officers did not act properly. the video showed them jump out of te car and shoot. they were drawing as they were exiting the car, there was one continuous movement, no hesitation at all , that would have been present if a warnig was issued, they just killed that kid.
AND WHY did they stop their car so close if they knew there was a gun . they stopped right in front of him ‘
Why didn`t they stop 20 feet back and use the car door for a shield, and THEN yell ou the warning. the entire thing is poor judgement demonstrated.
The video tells the whole story. The cop came out of his squad car shooting. There was no warning prior to that because there just wouldn’t have been enough time.
If you read the reports on Loehmann, you’ll find that he was fired from another police department for “unstable behavior, failure to follow orders, lying, and falsifying documentation.” Loehmann should never have been trusted with a badge and a gun. He’s a racist, violent, borderline insane individual who should be in mental health facility and not shooting a twelve year old child within THREE SECONDS of his arrival on the scene. He shot Rice through the window of his squad car as it came to a stop. Watching the enhanced versions of the video.
The man’s a monster.
The report can be accessed at
I am no expert in policing matters (but I did stay at the proverbial hotel) and I believe the killings of innocent, or unarmed people in the US fall in a small number of categories:
1. Irrational fear in the police officers, and refusal to be courageous (to paraphrase Bob Marley, their gun os their courage).
2. Anger in police officers qucikly escalating to lethal force because the victim did not obey them or stood up to them.
3. Lazyness: failure to go the extra mile by running after the victim (doing actual work), or calling for backup.
4. Lack of respect for non-police life and putting exponential premium on police life. “Us versus them” mentality and not a real “protect and serve” mentality.
5. Feeling that the media, the public and the local administration will blindly support them, defend them, and fight for them, automatically swallow their versions of reality as they have done in the past. When confronted, they could make up stories, falsify reports, leak information, back each others false stories most times with impunity (with media complicity/refusal to challenge stories that don’t pass the smell test).
6. Unjustified need to quickly resolve a situation often via escalation and termination of lives when a more rational and slower process might be more effective (a patient, thoughtful process that puts a premium on human life as opposed to quickly disposing of anyone who presents a challenge.
7. The inability by police to treat people with obvious mental deficiencies with additional care and the need to resolve the issue by just killing them (wait two hours for a deranged man to drop a knife versus kill him unde 12 seconds and claimng that they did it to save their own lives).
8. Militarization of police mentality: use of words like enemy” when refering to someone resisting arrest Or someone just having a bad day.
An Update from the The Atlantic
It should be increasingly clear that the police officer who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice will not be tried; and should he be tried, he will not be convicted. The successful prosecution of a police officer for murder almost never happens. It probably won’t happen in the killing of Rice:
Two outside investigators looking into the death of Tamir Rice have concluded that a Cleveland police officer, Tim Loehmann, acted reasonably in deciding last year to shoot when he confronted the 12-year-old boy carrying what turned out to be a replica gun…
“The question is not whether every officer would have reacted the same way,” Kimberly A. Crawford, the retired F.B.I. agent, wrote in her report, which noted that Officer Loehmann had no way of knowing Tamir’s gun was fake. “Rather, the relevant inquiry is whether a reasonable officer, confronting the exact same scenario under identical conditions could have concluded that deadly force was necessary.”
To be found not guilty of murder, a police officer need not prove that he used lethal violence against a threat, but that he reasonably believed himself to be threatened. Even in the case of Michael Slager, who shot a fleeing Walter Scott in the back, optimism for a conviction should be tempered:
Slager fired “because he felt threatened,” and had no way to know Scott was unarmed because he had not had the chance to pat him down, his lawyer said.
“He sees irrational behavior of a suspect, at that time,” Savage said. “He sees a guy who’s committed four felonies in the last minute and a half — violently resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, robbing the police officer of his weapon Taser, and using that Taser in attempt to harm him. Four felonies in the last 30-45 seconds.”
After he took off running, Scott pivoted, the lawyer said, at which time the officer figured “the logic is that was going for a weapon.”
At some point the discussion of police violence will have to move beyond the individual actions of officers to the level of policy. Convicting an officer of murder effectively requires an act of telepathy. As long as this is the standard, then the expectation of justice for a boy like Tamir Rice is little more than a kind of magical thinking.
Perhaps it is necessary to ask why we even have this standard in the first place. This is where my own questions begin: Is our tolerance for the lethal violence of the police rooted in the fact that lethal violence in our society is relatively common? Put differently, murder in America is much more common than in other developed countries. Is this how we have made our peace with that fact? Our world is, in some real sense, more dangerous. In recognition of this, have we basically said to the police, “Do what you will?” And in the case of Stand Your Ground, has this “Do what you will” ethic even extended to the citizenry? And if that is the case, then is there a line that can be drawn from Tamir Rice to Walter Scott to Sandy Hook to Trayvon Martin?