Deadly Police Shooting Of 12-Year-Old Ohio Boy Caught On Video
Over the weekend, as the nation awaited the grand jury’s decision in the case of slain teenager Michael Brown, tragedy struck yet again. This time, the person standing on the other side of the barrel of a police officer’s gun can’t even be called a teenager. He was a child.
According to USA Today, Tamir Rice, 12, was shot twice in the torso Saturday as he stood in a Ohio park. The shots were fired by a rookie police officer, who was apparently under the impression that the toy pellet gun Rice held in his hands was a real one. The fatal confrontation, which occurred beneath a gazebo on the playground, was captured by a nearby surveillance camera said Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba. Relatives of the child have declined to watch the video, but their representatives have seen it.
The shooting occurred after two officers responded to a 911 call made by an eyewitness, who informed the dispatcher that a guy who was walking around the park kept pulling out a gun. During the emergency call the witness expressed belief that Rice “was probably a juvenile” and that the gun “was probably fake.”
According to Tomba, one of the officers fired two shots at Rice after he pulled his toy gun from his waistband. It has been noted that the child did not point his gun at police, nor did he make any verbal threats towards the officers. However, officers claim that he did grab the replica weapon after he was ordered to raise his hands.
Rice was rushed to the hospital Saturday afternoon. He died the following morning. The identities of the officers involved have not been made public and they have both been placed on three days’ paid administrative leave. When they return, they will be placed on restricted duty.
Tomba claims that surveillance footage is “very clear on what took place” before the shooting, but declined to confirm whether or not the officer’s version of events matches the footage. Apparently, a full interview of the officer has not yet been conducted.
“You shot him twice, not once, and at the end of the day you all don’t shoot for the legs, you shoot for the upper body,” family friend Gregory Henderson said of the shooting to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Rice is remembered as a “respectful” child who listened to his elders. We send our prayers to the Rice family during their time of bereavement.