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Cleveland Police Release Video of Officer Shooting 12-Year-Old

The grainy footage shows Tamir Rice walking in a playground, holding a toy gun, before cops arrive and shoot the boy immediately after exiting their vehicle.

by VICE News
Nov 26 2014, 8:15pm

Photo by Mark Duncan/AP

The Cleveland Police Department Wednesday made public video of the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The boy was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer in a recreation center playground, after a passerby saw Rice walking around with an Airsoft-type toy gun. The officer who shot Rice has been identified as Timothy Loehmann, 26. The officer was accompanied by 46-year-old Frank Garmback, WKYC reported.

The grainy surveillance video, revealed Wednesday at a press conference, shows Rice walking around the near-empty playground, holding the toy weapon and talking on his cell phone. The highly pixilated and unclear footage shows a police cruiser pull up and two officers exit the vehicle. Rice collapses to the ground — apparently shot — almost immediately after the cops leave their car. Rice's family asked for the video to be publicly released.

"We are honoring the wishes of the family in releasing this and also in the spirit of being open and fair with our community," Deputy Police Chief Edward Tomba said at the press conference.

The officers claimed that they asked Rice three times to raise his hands, which he refused to do. They said the boy then reached for the toy gun in his waistband. There is no sound in the video footage. Both cops are on administrative leave, pending internal investigations into the shooting.

According to Cleveland.com, Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said that the 911 caller told the dispatcher that the gun was "probably fake," but the patrolling officers sent to the scene were not given this information.

On Tuesday evening, around 200 protestors gathered in Cleveland's Public Square to express anger at Rice's killing and to express solidarity with demonstrations in Ferguson and nationwide against the police killing of unarmed teen Mike Brown and other black youth.

Watch the video of Rice's shooting below, with commentary from Deputy Chief Tomba:

Stay tuned in to the state of policing in America with VICE News's Officer Involved blog.

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