This is not the blog I planned for today. However, I lived in Cleveland, OH for twenty five years. My late husband was an engineer at Channel 8 TV where I got this breaking news.
Cleveland is a city that is trying hard to improve itself and it has in many ways. However, Cleveland is in Cuyahoga County and the FBI has unearthed corruption more than once. Elected officials are at this moment in time doing time for graft, corruption and a variety of other crimes.
I was still living there when Tamir Rice was shot to death. It was winter and there was snow on the ground. Tamir was a twelve year old child who was playing with a toy gun. As children have for generations, he was playing cops and robbers or cowboys or some scenario in his imagination that will we never know about.
A man saw Tamir and called 911. He saw a suspicious looking man. Then he gave the 911 operator a generic description, and mentioned that he thought that it might be a kid with a toy gun, he wasn’t sure. A cruiser was dispatched to the rec center, without being told the caller thought the gun might not be real. Tamir pulled out his play gun and within seconds he was dead. The cruiser pulled right up onto the sidewalk so they had to be able to see that he was a child. Even if he was tall for his age. Just as a side note, I have a thirteen year old grandson who is six foot two inches tall. But even a quick look at his face you can see he is a child. My grandson is white and Tamir was black.
The article and video tells us that Tamir’s mom is distressed. I guess so. I am distressed. I will never forget any of the black lives taken by police but Tamir will haunt me till I die. A cold day with some sun shining and a child goes out, not on the streets to cause trouble but to a recreation center to play. And before evening closes in on that playground, he is dead and his family will never be the same.
The media in Cleveland has hinted that this might be his own fault, now they are saying the cop was a rookie so it was unfortunate but he hadn’t had enough training yet. The 911 operator was a little at fault. So now, the decision has been made that no one is responsible for a black child out playing on a public playground and ending up dead.
This is my opinion, my take on what I heard and saw dozens of times on the media, I might be wrong but I don’t see that I am. What I see is a twelve year old child was murdered by the police for playing with a toy gun. Maybe they shouldn’t paint toy guns black. Maybe they should paint all toy guns yellow or orange or a neon color.
Maybe we should stop making toy guns. I think that is an excellent idea.
Maybe police should be taught to take more than 12 seconds before fatally shooting someone.
Maybe rookie officers need more training before going out into the streets.
Please give me your feedback as I am very interested in what the world thinks.
Barbara, the Idealisticrebel
CLEVELAND, Ohio (Fox8 News) — Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced Monday afternoon that a grand jury will not bring charges against the two officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Police were called to Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland on Nov. 22, 2014 after a 911 caller reported a male in the area waving a gun.
“There’s a guy with a pistol,” the 911 caller told dispatch. “The guy keeps pulling it out. It’s probably fake.”
The officers were not told the gun may be fake before they arrived on scene.
Officer Frank Garmback was driving the police cruiser and stopped next to a gazebo, putting him and Officer Timothy Loehmann between Rice and the rec center. Police say they ordered Rice to drop the weapon before Loehmann fired twice.
Tamir Rice had an airsoft pistol that police say looked like a real gun.
The 12-year-old suffered one gunshot wound to the stomach and was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died the following day.
McGinty said from the information that was given to them, the officers were prepared to face a possible active shooter at the park.
He added that Loehmann had reason to fear for his life as he got out of the cruiser and saw a male with what appeared to be a gun.
“It would be irresponsible or unreasonable if the officer was required to wait and see if the gun was real,” he said.
McGinty said both Tamir Rice and Loehmann were both “no doubt frightened.” He said Tamir Rice likely intended to hand the airsoft gun over to the officers or show them it wasn’t real.
“But there was no way the officers would know that,” he said, adding they were seeing the situation from a different point of view.
McGinty added that the entire incident was a “perfect storm of human error.”
“The death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy,” he said. “But it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime.”
McGinty said he called Tamir Rice’s mother to tell her the grand jury’s decision. Tamir Rice’s family released a statement through their attorney, saying they were “saddened and disappointed, but not surprised” by the decision. They are also renewing their request that the Department of Justice step in to conduct a “real investigation into this tragic shooting of a 12-year-old child.” Read more here.
“It was a rough call,” said McGinty, who recommended to the grand jury that no charges be filed.
McGinty said that there have been lessons learned already since the shooting of Tamir Rice.
“It should never happen again, and steps have been taken to make sure it is not,” he said.
McGinty said the city has since bought body cameras. Dash cameras are on the way for city police and suburban departments, he said.
“Now it is time for the community and all of us to start to heal,” said McGinty.
After McGinty spoke, Assistant Prosecutor Matt Meyer, chief of the Public Corruption Unit, went through the entire chain of events from that day.
Meyer said Rice spent several hours at the rec center the day of the shooting with the airsoft pistol.
Meyer said Tamir Rice got the airsoft pistol from a friend, who told investigators he’d removed the orange tip from the gun. The same friend warned Tamir of the “dangerousness” of using the gun, Meyer said.
Meyer showed a real gun vs. a replica of the airsoft pistol Rice had that day to show how similar they are.
Meyer emphasized that Tamir Rice was seen several times pulling the gun in and out of his waistband and pointing it at people. He also emphasized that the man who called 911 initially reporting his concerns about Tamir told dispatchers that the gun may not be real.
That information was not passed on to the officers, Meyer said.
After the shooting, Meyer said Loehmann told another officer who arrived on scene that “(Tamir) gave me no choice…there was nothing I could do.”
Meyer added that Loehmann was seen kicking the airsoft pistol onto the grass nearly 41 seconds after the shooting. (emphasis added) He said that indicates Loehmann thought he was dealing with a real firearm.( Really? Is it standard operating procedures to move a weapon at a crime scene?– Barbara)
“This case is a culmination of a tragic confluence of events,” said Loehmann, emphasizing that officers were dealing with a boy who appeared to be much older than 12.
McGinty said at the press conference that he wants to call on legislature and manufacturers to not make toy guns that look real.
He left the press conference without answering questions. McGinty did say he may answer questions later in the day.
Following the announcement, Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis responded and said, “Nobody’s celebrating” but the union believes grand jury made the correct call.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Rice family as well the officers that have been involved in this,” he said. “We have a ton of respect for the grand jury and not buying into the rhetoric and some of the nonsense that’s been going on out here. They made a thoughtful decision.”
Union lawyer Henry Hilow said, “We can’t look at this only through a two-second video.”
He believes the grand jury looked at the totality of the circumstances.
OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THE CASE:
Cleveland police hired Loehmann as an officer in March 2014. Previously, he was employed by the Independence Police Department, but resigned when he learned they had started the termination process.
His personnel file from Independence showed he was distracted and weepy during a state qualification course. It described Loehmann’s “dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage personal stress.”
A deputy chief wrote Loehmann did not have the maturity to work in the department, and that “time, nor training” would correct his deficiencies.
Garmback, who was Loehmann’s training officer, started working for the city of Cleveland in 2008. He received a Medal of Heroism for an October 2011 incident involving a man with a gun.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office received the criminal investigation in June and released the following reports:
W. Ken Katsaris, law enforcement officer and instructor in Florida
S. Lamar Sims, senior chief deputy district attorney in Denver
Kimberly A. Crawford, retired FBI special agent