The Cleveland Police Department on Wednesday released edited video footage of a shooting in which officers killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was brandishing a toy gun.
In the short video, Tamir is seen walking along a sidewalk outside a Cleveland recreation center. At times he’s seen holding and pointing what appears to be a black gun. Seconds before the shooting, Tamir is seen sitting on a picnic bench under a gazebo. He then stands and walks out of the gazebo as a police car speeds onto the snow covered grass. The boy appears to still be holding an object in his hands when both officers exit the car and shots are fired seconds later.
Tamir’s parents called on city officials to release the video of the Nov. 22 shooting.
“We’ve conferred with the family on several occasions and we’ve considered their wishes,” said Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams at a Wednesday news conference where the video was shown.
In an open letter to the community, Tamir’s family said they were devastated.
“Tamir was a bright young man who had his whole life ahead of him. This is a tragedy in our eyes,” the boy’s family wrote.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Timothy Loehmann, 26, and Frank Garmback, 46. Both are on paid administrative leave.
On Nov. 22, the officers responded to a 911 call reporting a male with a gun that was “probably fake” at a recreation center.
“There is a guy with a pistol,” the 911 caller said in an audio recording released by police. “It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.”
As the officers drove onto the grass, they issued three commands from the car for Tamir to put down what they believed was a real gun, Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said Wednesday. Tomba identified Loehmann as the officer in the passenger’s seat of the police car, who was the first to engage the boy.
Once the shots were fired, one officer radioed into dispatch saying he believed Tamir was possibly 20 years old.
When reporters asked if it was standard procedure for officers to drive onto grassy park areas when looking for a suspect, Tomba said “it’s a legitimate question,” and is a part of the ongoing investigation.
Officials said they would finish the investigation within 90 days and all evidence will be handed over to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office to investigate whether the officers will face charges.
In a summary of the shooting released earlier in the week, police describe what Tamir was holding as “an ‘airsoft' type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol, with the orange safety indicator removed.”
Earlier this week, Williams called on the community to come together because “a tragedy like this really affects our entire community.”
“We, members of the police, are a part of the community and we need people to know we’re out there, we’re a part of this community and we’re all together,” Williams said.
In New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis and elsewhere protesters in recent days have taken to the streets to voice their frustrations over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the August death of an unarmed 18-year-old black man. In Cleveland, protesters have also invoked Tamir’s name in demonstrations.