Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice, on Nov. 25, 2014.
A Cleveland police officer fatally shot a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun just two seconds after getting out of his patrol car, surveillance video released Wednesday shows.
The shooting of Tamir Rice, who was black, by a white police officer has drawn outrage in Cleveland and elsewhere in the wake of the protests this week over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The episode began Saturday when someone sitting in a park called 911 and warned that "a juvenile" was waving a gun that was "probably fake." The caller later said, "I don't know if it's real or not."
The firearm was actually an airsoft gun — which shoots small plastic pellets — but it didn't have the orange tip that's supposed to show it's not a real pistol.
Two police officers then drove to the park playground and confronted Rice. The patrol officer who shot him was identified Wednesday as Timothy Loehmann, a 26-year-old rookie who began his career in Cleveland on March 3.
Loehmann's partner that day was identified as Frank Garmback, 46. He has been with the department since 2008. Both are on paid administrative leave pending a decision by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office whether to pursue any criminal charges.
Police officials maintain that the officers asked Rice to drop the gun three times before shooting. They say that when Rice was told to raise his hands, he reached into his waistband instead.
The entire incident, shown in the video released by the police and embedded below, lasts less than a minute. While the video doesn't have sound — and so it's impossible to verify whether the officers did indeed warn the 12-year-old — it does reveal that they shot Rice within moments of arriving on scene.
Rice is seen sitting under a gazebo
In the final moments of his life, Rice is seen sitting under a gazebo in the park. He then stands up and walks toward the street. (Note: The longer version of the video shows that Rice was waving his gun around and, at times, pointing it in a shooting position.)
A Cleveland Police Department car pulls up
A Cleveland police car then pulls up to the gazebo, and Rice is seen walking towards the vehicle. Deputy Chief Ed Tomba of the Cleveland Division of Police told reporters that one of the officers told Rice to “show your hands” three times. Police say Rice, at that point, reached into his waistband.
Rice is shot
Two seconds later, Rice is shot. You can see him double over out of view, falling toward the ground on the other side of the police car. The officer who shot him emerges from the vehicle at approximately the same time and then scrambles behind his car, toward its rear and on the side facing the surveillance camera.
Second officer exits the vechicle
The shooting is over by the time the second officer, the driver of the car, exits the vehicle. Both officers then stand facing the boy, their guns raised, for 10 seconds as they assess the situation and radio it back to headquarters. “Shots fired, male down, um, black male, maybe 20,” one of them said, overestimating Rice's age by eight years.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Edward Tomba explained the decision to release the video.
"This is not an effort to exonerate. It's not an effort to show the public that anybody did anything wrong," he said. ""This is an obviously tragic event where a young member of our community lost their life. We've got two officers that were out there protecting the public that just had to, you know, do something that nobody wants to do."
Watch the full video below (Warning: This contains the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy):
Here is the recording of the 911 call from the man in the park:
Tags: CLEVELAND, GUN CONTROL, OHIO, U.S., US & World