Trayvon Martin. Akai Gurley. Michael Brown. Now add Tamir Rice to the list. The 12-year-old was shot and killed by Cleveland police officers while walking around a park with a toy gun.
On the afternoon of Nov. 22, a dispatcher received a call about a kid waving a gun around a park and scaring individuals in the area. While the caller told the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake,” that piece of information wasn’t relayed to the officers.
According to the police report, Tim Loehmann, a first-year officer, got out of his car and told Rice to raise his hands. Police said that instead of raising his hands, Rice allegedly reached for his replica of a semi-automatic handgun that shoots pellets. In response, the officers fired two shots from less than 10 feet away. One of the bullets hit Rice in the stomach. He was then rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition. He passed away Sunday.
But that narrative was challenged immediately when video of the incident was made public. In the video, Loehmann and his partner pull into view, then Loehmann steps out of the car and shoots Rice within two seconds. MSNBC personality Chris Hayes made a point to read the police report on air while video of the incident played at the same time.
Loehmann’s father also spoke with reporters, saying that his son “had no choice” but to shoot Rice and feared for his life. But amidst all the brouhaha, what’s left out is Rice’s family and what they’re going through now that they have lost a son. The family put out a statement thanking those who supported them.
“We’d like to thank everyone who attended Tamir’s viewing earlier this week at Gaines Funeral Home in Cleveland,” reads the family’s statement. “Your prayers have truly helped us. Due to numerous requests from kind individuals who have asked how they can help our family financially, we have set up a fund in Tamir’s honor to help pay for his funeral expenses. Donations to the Tamir Rice Memorial Fund can be made at any U.S. Bank location. Again, we’d like to thank everyone for their support and also for respecting our privacy as we grieve the loss of our son. Thank you.”