Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The mother of a 12-year-old Ohio boy fatally shot by police who believed he was carrying a gun said Monday he was never given a chance to follow officers’ orders.
Samaria Rice said in an interview at The Associated Press offices in New York that her son, Tamir Rice, was shot before he could respond to orders after the police pulled up next to him on a Cleveland playground and a rookie officer fired within two seconds. Tamir had an airsoft gun, which shoots nonlethal plastic pellets.
Rice said she wants the officer charged with murder, and she called on authorities to make sure young officers don’t “ignore the training.”
Police say officers were responding to a call Nov. 22 about someone possibly carrying a gun. They say Tamir didn’t respond to commands to raise his hands before Officer Timothy Loehmann fired his weapon. They also meant to stop the patrol car farther from Tamir but the vehicle slid on the grass, the Cleveland police union has said.
Rice said she found out later that Tamir was handed the fake weapon by a girl at the playground. She said police also put Tamir’s 14-year-old sister in handcuffs as she rushed to help her mortally wounded brother that day.
Rice’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said in the AP interview that the two officers could have defused the situation — by talking to the boy from a distance instead of pulling up next to him on the grass and firing.
An internal Cleveland police investigation is underway and the results will be turned over to the local prosecutor, who will present them to a grand jury. The fatal encounter was caught on surveillance video.