Authorities in Cleveland released video of the police-involved shooting earlier this week, which took the life of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy. The release of the video came one day after Tamir's parents urged Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and the Cleveland Police Department share the footage with the public. Part of the letter from Samaria Rice and Leonard Warner to the officials is reprinted below:
"We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son's life must be made public. It is our prayer and request for citizens in the City of Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio to remain calm at this time. We ask for the public to demonstrate peacefully."
The full video, which is seven minutes and 51 seconds long, shows Tamir walking back and forth along the sidewalk of Cudell Recreation Center. Tamir had an airsoft gun, a replica gun which shoots plastic pellets. He apparently pointed the gun several times, which prompted a man to call the police.
"The guy keeps pulling it out," the caller said of the "airsoft" gun. "It's probably fake, but you know what, he's scaring the (expletive) out of (inaudible)."
"He's sitting on the swing right now, but he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants and pointing it at people," the caller continues. "Probably a juvenile, you know? … I don't know if it's real or not, you know?"
Officers arrived at the park, pulling up next to the gazebo, and moments later Tamir Rice was fatally shot. From news station WKYC:
"That's when officers on the scene said they asked Rice to raise his hands and he went for the gun in his waistband. Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said the officers involved were Timothy Loehmann, 26, and Frank Garmback, 46, and Loehmann, who was the one who shot Rice.The video clearly shows the shooting incident, but Rice is hidden from view beside the police cruiser when he is shot and falls to the ground."
The gun Tamir was playing with was an "airsoft" gun, which police say was improperly marked (it lacked an orange tip) and looked like a semiautomatic pistol. The video below is extremely disturbing.
There are currently protests in Downtown Cleveland: