Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice
Tamir Rice
Courtesy of The Tamir Rice Foundation / The Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center, with permission

Tamir Rice was an innocent 12-year-old child who was killed on November 22, 2014, by a white police officer in Cleveland, Ohio. Two officers responded to a police dispatch call reporting that there was a male pointing a pistol at random people in the park. The 911 caller explicitly stated at the beginning and the middle of the call that the pistol is “probably fake.” Towards the end of the call, he adds that the person pointing the gun “is probably a juvenile.” Tragically, that crucial information was not relayed to the responding officers.

Tamir was by himself, playing in a gazebo when two police officers pulled onto the grass right alongside the gazebo. One officer shot the sixth grader immediately, within three seconds, after arriving on the scene. As the caller had surmised, the gun that this little boy had was indeed just a replica toy gun. The murder of this innocent child happened too quickly. On the video the police car is still in the process of stopping when young Tamir is shot.

To add insult to injury, Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, said that she was threatened with arrest because she was yelling at police who refused to let her run to her dying son's aid. She also said that, upon learning he had been shot, his 14-year-old sister also tried to rush to Tamir’s side. That was when police officers tackled Tamir’s sister, handcuffed her and placed her in a squad car with the same police officer who had just shot her little brother.

During the investigation it was revealed that the officer who killed Tamir had been deemed an emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty in his previous job as a police officer in a Cleveland suburb. He should not have been a police officer and Tamir should not be dead.

Several months later the prosecution presented evidence to a grand jury, which declined to indict, claiming that Tamir was drawing what appeared to be an actual firearm from his waist as the police arrived. Tamir Rice’s family brought a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and it was subsequently settled for $6 million.