Boy had hands in pockets when Cleveland officer shot him, expert says video shows

Mother Samaria Rice and family lawyers watch a video in March of Tamir Rice’s fatal shooting.

Mother Samaria Rice and family lawyers watch a video in March of Tamir Rice’s fatal shooting.

(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

A 12-year-old boy killed by Cleveland police last year had his hands in his pockets when he was shot and wasn’t reaching for the pellet gun he was carrying, according to an expert hired by the boy’s family to review a frame-by-frame video of the deadly encounter.

Tamir Rice did not have enough time to remove his hands from his pockets before being shot, and his hands were not visible to the officer, according to the report released late Friday by attorneys for Tamir’s family.

The new report and two others from experts already used by the family are the latest analyses of evidence to be released as a grand jury considers whether to bring charges against the officers in Tamir’s death.

The boy was shot after authorities received a report of a man pointing and waving a possible gun outside a recreation center on Nov. 22, 2014. The rookie officer who fired at Tamir, Timothy Loehmann, told investigators that before opening fire, he repeatedly ordered the boy to show his hands, then saw him pulling a weapon from his waistband.


It turned out Tamir was carrying a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets. He died a day later.

Previous reports concluded that Loehmann shot Tamir within 2 seconds of opening his car door. The new analysis determined it happened even faster, within less than a second, according to the review by California-based shooting reconstruction expert Jesse Wobrock.

With the patrol car windows rolled up, Tamir could not have heard commands to show his hands, Wobrock added.

“The scientific analysis and timing involved do not support any claim that there was a meaningful exchange between Officer Loehmann and Tamir Rice before he was shot,” Wobrock said.

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In response, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said an investigation is the search for the truth. “We welcome and will review all credible relevant evidence from any source,” he said in a statement Saturday.

Tamir’s family has criticized McGinty for months over the length of the investigation and has demanded charges against the officers.

McGinty previously released reports by three experts saying Loehmann was justified in shooting Tamir.