The details of how this tragic shooting went down still need to be fleshed out, but based on a surveillance video of the shooting at Cudell Recreation Center on Cleveland’s West Side, the police have a lot of explaining to do.
Not the least of which is why the two officers involved failed to immediately give first aid to the fallen boy. It wasn’t until an FBI agent who happened to be in the area arrived four minutes later that Tamir was given any such attention.
The account Cleveland police gave of the shooting by a rookie police officer does not seem to match what the video reveals.
The police said two officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, went to the park and saw Tamir take what they thought was a pistol from a table under a gazebo in the park and stuff it in his waistband. Police said that the boy was sitting with a group at the time.
Police also said that the officers told Tamir three times to raise his hands, and that when he reached for what they thought was a real pistol, he was shot.
The video, however, shows officers in a cruiser pull up within several feet of Rice, who was not with a group, but by himself underneath a gazebo. Immediately, even before the car stops rolling, the cruiser’s passenger side door opens, an officer emerges and fires at Tamir, who drops to the ground.
Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said the officers ordered Tamir to “show your hands” three times from the ajar passenger door, but it’s hard to believe that’s possible based on the video.
The shot that struck Tamir appears to have been fired the very moment the officer stands up after getting out of the car. If this is the proper technique for confronting an armed gunman, let alone a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun, one has to wonder what training manual they are consulting.
Why did the officers drive right up to Tamir? Why didn’t they park further away, climb out of their car and shield themselves with a door or another section of the car, and then order Tamir to drop his weapon?
As we said, the police have a lot of explaining to do.