Video Shows Cops' Rough Treatment of Tamir Rice's 14-Year-Old Sister as Her Younger Brother Lay Dying
The 14-year old sister of Tamir Rice was pushed to the ground, handcuffed and then shoved into the back of a patrol car as her 12-year-old brother lay dying after being shot by a Cleveland police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real one .
Extended video footage of the incident, released on Thursday, was captured by a surveillance camera at the Cudell Recreation Center, where Tamir Rice was shot on 22 November. The footage was obtained by the Northeast Ohio Media Group (NOMG). The media group reported that city officials had initially refused to release the video.
“This video shows in crystal-clear HD that the responding officers acted inappropriately and recklessly, both in how they handled the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the events that immediately followed,” said Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Rice family, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
“The family is outraged that rather than comfort a sister coming to the aid of her dying brother, the officers instead manhandled and tackled her, cuffed her and thoughtlessly tossed her in the back of a patrol car.”
Another lawyer for the family, Walter Madison, told NOMG: “This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen.”
On 22 November the siblings were playing at a local park, Tamir with his replica handgun. Two officers, responding to a 911 caller who said a boy was waving a “probably fake” gun, pulled up near Tamir in their police cruiser. Seconds later, first-year Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fired at the 12-year-old.
Loehmann had been declared unfit for duty by another department after failing a written entrance exam, records obtained by NOMG revealed.
The newly released video shows the girl rushing towards her brother. Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, the driver of the police car, blocks her and forces her to the ground. The officers handcuff her and put her in their car, which is parked steps away from her wounded brother.
Nearly 10 minutes after the incident, emergency responders arrive and take Tamir away on a stretcher.
At the hospital, Tamir received a surgery and drug treatments, but both failed to save him, according to the medical examiner’s report that ruled the boy’s death a homicide. Tamir died overnight, the result of being shot in the abdomen.
The video supports statements made by the young boy’s mother at a press conference last month.
“I noticed my son laying down on the ground, and I went charging and yelling and everything at the police because they wouldn’t let me through,” Samaria Rice said during a press conference on 8 December in Cleveland, in her first public comments since her son’s death.
“Then I saw my daughter in the back of the police car as I was trying to get through to my son. The police told me to calm down or they would put me in the back of the police car,” she said. “The police was just standing around and wasn’t doing anything.”
She said police gave her an ultimatum: “Either I stay with the 14-year-old, or do I go with the 12-year-old,” she said. “So, of course I went with the 12-year-old, and they made me sit in the front of the ambulance truck like I was a passenger.”
The family has filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the two police officers involved. Both officers have been placed on restricted duty while the homicide is investigated.