Dead Wrong About Tamir Rice

When news of the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice broke, I tried to be the honest broker I aspire to be.

Tragic outcomes don’t necessarily mean wrongful causes.  Sometimes a tragedy occurs and there is no one to blame. This may be one of those times.

No.  This was not “one of those times.”  I was wrong. Dead wrong. Tamir Rice was executed.

I was impressed by the way in which the police appeared to immediately “come clean” with the details of the shooting, with the disclosure of the 911 recording that showed that they were open to criticism, and yet gave it up anyway.  These suggested to me that the police narrative, messy as it was, rung true.  And so, I gave the police the benefit of the doubt.  I was wrong.

This surveillance video of the killing of Tamir Rice surfaced yesterday.

It’s grainy, but that doesn’t alter what it shows. The police drove up to within feet of a 12-year-old boy, and the officer alit from his cruiser and shot him dead. It was immediate. There were no observations as claimed, no attempt to tell him to put his hands up or drop the airsoft gun.  This is what the police claimed happened before the video was released:

The officers saw the boy put the gun in his waistband, according to police. When the officers told him to put his hands in the air, he reached into his waistband and pulled it out, police said. Officers fired two shots, at least one of which hit him in the stomach.

This was a lie.  It was all a lie.  The cop jumped out of his car and fired. He executed a child. A black child.

Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann , the rookie of the pair, whose name needs to become well-known, shot Tamir Rice dead.  Immediately, and without hesitation. Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba “explained”:

“This is not an effort to exonerate, it’s not an effort to show the public that anybody did anything wrong. This is a tragic event,” Tomba said.

Yes, a tragic event, as any other execution of a human being is a tragic event. Even more tragic when one realizes this was a child.  The word “tragic” fails to suffice anymore.  And Tomba need not fear this will exonerate anyone. That’s the grand jury’s job these days.

This cannot go unnoticed, no matter how weary you’ve grown after the killing of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others.  This may well be the worst yet.  And yet, there will still be neighbors of yours who won’t care because it’s not them and the kid shouldn’t have had a gun anyway.

Pass the yams and have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Be thankful this wasn’t your child.

111 thoughts on “Dead Wrong About Tamir Rice

  1. John Thacker

    The thing is, Conor Friedersdorf posted a whole slew of videos of cases like this that were equally as bad, and all of which seemed not to result in police officers being indicted. I’m also confused as to exactly why Michael Brown became the cause celebre as opposed to these cases with clearcut video (yet still, as you note, defended by a disturbing percentage of the population). It’s not as though in these cases with the clearcut video justice was done.

    It seems like the more ambiguous and disputed the evidence, the more likely it is to be the one that becomes national news. There’s a partial exception for Randall Kerrick shooting the FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell who was knocking on someone’s door for directions, but even that one seemed to go away quickly. (Granted, in that case he was fired and arraigned for manslaughter quickly, thanks to NC having no collective bargaining for police, but then it totally dropped off the media radar.)

    1. SHG Post author

      Perhaps because too many people are like you, and can’t focus on one thing long enough to do something worthwhile. Your comment here undermines everything that needs to be accomplished, and you don’t realize how dangerous and foolish you are, thinking that you somehow help with a comment like this that serves only to overstimulate, distract and deflect attention.

      You are the poster boy for the problem. I don’t appreciate your comment at all, and find people like you more of a problem than people who deny the problem exists.

      1. John Thacker

        Oh, I think that the Michael Brown case was resolved horribly, and it’s incredibly obvious that Darren Wilson was, like all cops, given immense special treatment. And I tried to do the worthwhile thing in my backyard by voting against the stupid bipartisan supported district attorney candidate who promised to be more tough on crime (idiot won, of course.) I just don’t understand why the horrible cases in my backyard that I know about aren’t the ones to make the national news.

        You’re undoubtedly right that regardless of the quality of the evidence showing the cop murdering someone in cold blood, too many people won’t care any more than if it was ambiguous.

        Perhaps I’ll be wrong and Tamir Rice’s murder will get the national attention it deserves.

    1. morgan sheridan

      It makes me heartsick. It makes me mad. I’m stuck on mad.
      I don’t live anywhere near Cleveland, but in another town, in another state, where the DOJ has taken our police department to task for their excesses.
      These police sanctioned executions infuriate me. And all I can do is take that fury into the voting booth.

    2. Mary Ashcroft

      I agree. I am heartsick as well. I can’t get this tragedy out of my mind. I am watching a bored 12 year old child wandering around like all children without someone to play with will who ends up dead minutes later. It is sick. We can’t have this. If we are a civilized society, we cannot allow the shooting of children. It makes me physically ill. A baby, a baby dead for no reason. We cannot do this anymore. It is the responsibility of adults to protect children, not kill them. I don’t care what the child was playing with. It does not justify what happened here. Maybe we need to think a little before we act.

  2. John Barleycorn

    Don’t park in the “park” b’cause it’s “crazy” after “dark”.

    Safe keeping expires, movie night ends.

    There it is.

    A few times a year I inverse migrate back to flat lands, very near the banks of the Mighty Mississippi before she makes up her mind with intentions and soil.

    I used to more often, I still do, I think I always will.

    Tragedy is not rage and rage is a hard ribbon to pin on the esteemed one.

    Eat your mashed potatoes! Gravy too. Yams…brown sugar and butter wanting to be the sweet patience of potato too?

    It is long past a tough nut to crack when a third of the action here at SJ is banking on unborn grandchildren to come into the fold intuitively.

    Which takes me squarely to the only critique the esteemed one needs to hear.

    What are you waiting for?

    1. Charles Platt

      What can anyone do? I don’t know, I give money to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which has been fighting a lonely fight for years (decades?). Personally, I moved to an area which is so remote, the county police don’t care, and there are no local police. But that doesn’t help anybody but me.

      An organization that campaigns for universal and unerasable video cameras for cops might be a good idea.

    2. morgansher

      We can question everything.
      We can do a ruthless examination of our own actions and consciences.
      We can send letters to officials demanding better policing as a minimum expectation.
      We can resist the messages that deny people of color their fundamental humanity.
      We can resist the messages from any agency public or private that tells us they are the enemy no matter how covertly or overtly conveyed.
      We can resist swallowing the poison.

      How’s that for a start?

    3. Steve

      Tell kids not to take the orange parts off of fake guns, and not to point guns at people especially police. If you are a white liberal reading this don’t complain unless if you take a black airsoft gun with only the end being orange (which the kid removed) and quickly pull it out and point it at a cop.

      1. SHG Post author

        You left out “tell a guy who exercises his 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms that he’s just as dead because of clueless assholes like me supporting a cop executing this kid for the wrong reason.”

      2. Mercedes Lackey

        Way to blame the victim. Now where have I heard this same rhetoric of “he should have never…he got it coming” before?

        Oh that’s right. Wife-beaters.

  3. ExCop-LawStudent

    Scott, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. It’s not the rookie that caused this, it is the senior officer, the driver, whose name should be plastered all over the internet.

    The senior officer is the idiot who drove right up to Rice, despite this being a man with a gun call. He is the one that put the rookie, Loehmann, only feet away from Rice. The senior officer is the one who is supposed to have the experience to handle these calls, but he put the person least able to responsibly evaluate the situation into a position where he has to make a split second decision on whether it is a real gun or not.

    That senior officer deprived Loehmann of time and distance and Loehmann reacted as he had been trained on seeing what he thought was a gun. The senior officer, more than Loehmann, is responsible for the death of that child.

    (I’m sorry, but I can’t find the name of the senior officer or I would have used it.)

    1. David

      Sorry, but I don’t buy that. Ohio’s an open carry state. Even if Rice did have a real gun, he was doing nothing illegal by walking around with it. He’s certainly not aiming at anyone in the video. By any standard, Loehmann had no reason to do what he did, and if he was trained to shoot anyone with a gun he was trained in direct opposition to both sanity and the law of his state.

      1. SHG Post author

        If I understand ECLS correctly, he places primary blame on the senior officer because it was his responsibility to know better than to drive so close to Tamir Rice, to direct the rookie so as to avoid shooting, to take command of the situation so that the new cop doesn’t make bad choices. He failed in this duty.

        1. David M.

          True, but Other David was disagreeing with the part of ECLS’ post where ECLS appears to excuse the shooter’s behavior by saying he reacted as he’d been trained to do. I agree with him, that’s absurd. ECLS is right to say the veteran put the rookie on the spot, and that is a good point, but the rookie’s the one who executed the kid.

          Perhaps one could argue that the rookie was trained to shoot when his partner demanded it of him/drove him up alongside a scary black child with a gun – basically the Nuremberg defense* – which would avoid the open-carry-in-Ohio problem, but is no less absurd all the same.

          *I’m German, I’m allowed to make non-gratuitous Nazi comparisons, right?

          1. SHG Post author

            Damn, you caught me skimming ECLS’ comment (I do that a lot, as I have too many to read/approve and often get bored or annoyed after the first sentence) and I missed that part. And no, regardless of your national heritage, you aren’t allowed to make gratuitous Nazi comparisons any more than anyone else, but I don’t consider the Nuremberg defense a gratuitous Nazi comment. See, I read yours to the end.

            As for the prong of ECLS’ comment that I wrongfully missed, I think you have the better point, that it may be consistent with his training (which doesn’t explain the lie that was told to cover up the killing), but that remains the most superficial execution of training possible, and isn’t adequate to justify the immediate, execution/shooting. See child with gun, shot without thought doesn’t cut it. Rookies aren’t entitled to greater latitude to kill than experienced cops just because they’re more easily scared or superficial in their grasp of the consequences of knee-jerk reactions.

            1. ExCop-LawStudent

              Sorry, to clarify the second prong, I also saw (and assumed that everyone did) what appeared to be the boy moving his arm and hand towards his waist. If Loehmann saw what he thought was a gun AND Rice was moving his hand towards it, Loehmann had no time and did exactly as he had been trained to do, which was to shoot the threat.

              The reason that Loehmann had no time is because Garmback put him in a position where he would have no time to react.

              If you look at most officer-involved shooting videos, one thing that is consistent through all of them is the officer attempting to create distance as he fires his pistol. Look at the video here – you see Loehmann fire as he is breaking for the back of the squadcar and cover. Garmback has a much slower response – he has the bulk of the car between him and the “threat,” plus he has Loehmann as cannon fodder to draw fire.

              Under no circumstances was I claiming that a rookie was justified in firing because they were more easily scared or as a knee-jerk reaction. Those that do so (like in the stairway, hallway, or whereever it was) deserved to be prosecuted for negligent homicide at a minimum.

              Finally, it doesn’t matter if this were an open carry state or not – someone reaching for a gun in front of a police officer is apt to get shot. I am sorry that I did not make that clear, but I thought that the movement towards the gun by Rice was clear by all. At least, it looked clear to me, although I may be more apt to notice those things due to my past profession.

              BTW, nothing justifies the lie, but the officers and the administration do not see it as a lie. It is how they have done business for years and no one has called them on it, because there has never been so much video out there until now.

      2. Steve

        The 911 call that cops responded to was that an approximately 20yo black male was pointing a gun at people. Even at gun ranges people don’t point real guns at each other. Being an open carry state does not allow someone under 18 to carry a handgun, but there are real examples of 12yo black males shooting people with real guns.

        1. SHG Post author

          So if he had violated the law by open carry at 20, that’s a reason to kill him? Brilliant. And there are real examples of 12-year-olds black males who didn’t shoot anyone. You can’t possibly be this stupid and still be capable of breathing.

    2. SHG Post author

      I see your point, and it’s well taken. The senior (training) officer is Frank Garmback, age 46 and a ten year veteran.

      1. Fubar

        Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann , the rookie of the pair, whose name needs to become well-known, shot Tamir Rice dead. …

        and

        The senior (training) officer is Frank Garmback, age 46 and a ten year veteran. …

        These horrors go on unremitting,
        ‘Long as cops think their actions are fitting.
        Justice needs more at large
        Who, like Madame DeFarge,
        Persistently stick to their knitting.

        1. delurking

          Who, like Madame DeFarge,
          Persistently stick to their knitting.

          Please, no, let them not stick to their knitting like Madame DeFarge did.

  4. JCC

    I agree with the previous post. The driver pulled right up next to the person who reportedly had a firearm, putting the (inexperienced rookie) passenger immediately in harm’s way and with no place to go. Perhaps the rookie did react too quickly, but ultimately, the fault lies with the older officer who set up the shooting. Perhaps (maybe “probably” or even “certainly”) a more seasoned officer (on the passenger side) would have waited before firing, given the age of the civilian, but when confronted with someone pulling a realistic firearm, the rookie typically experienced tunnel-vision and acted in self-defense. A tragedy all around, and caused by poor tactics and probably poor training, compounded by the dispatcher’s failure to pass along the “it’s probably a fake gun” of the original 911 call.

    1. David M.

      Yes, I agree. The problem here is that Officer Garmback was simply being too gung ho: in his zeal to fight crime, he courageusly, but arguably recklessly, drove up to confront the armed felon head on, putting his plucky rookie partner in the line of fire and forcing him to make a split-second decision to save lives, including their own.

      Deputy Chief Ed Tomba is frustrated to no end by his two cops’ maverick attitudes, but secretly, he’s kinda proud of the way they always get results.

  5. Pingback: I have now seen the Tamir Rice video | Voidgeist

  6. JCC

    Why would you assume that?
    I’m agreeing with the ECLS who says the primary fault lies with the older cop who placed the new cop in a very poor position. And I don’t see a lie in the statements of the Police Department, who said the officer(s) issued commands to the young boy and fired when he went for the toy gun (maybe to throw it away in a panic). I think the boy can be seen moving his right hand to his waistband in the very indistinct video. For all we can tell from the video, the officer shot from inside the car. From the timer on the video (visible in other versions), it looks like about 3 seconds or so from the time the car stops until the time the boy is shot. There is nothing on that video which disproves that the officer saw the replica firearm and the boy trying to pull it, or that the officer was not yelling at the time he fired. Even a close-up of the pellet gun published today, makes it clear that the replica was a close match in appearance for a real firearm.

    1. SHG Post author

      First, if you’re replying to a comment, then you need to use the reply button.

      Second, yes, you were agreeing with ECLS. Why? Does he need your approval? Are you qualified to agree or disagree with him by being a cop for more than 20 years? If not, what different could your agreement possibly make to anyone, and if not, then it’s pointless noise that illuminates nothing and wastes space. That was the point of my snark.

      Third, the original video has no timer, and unless someone phonied a timer into the video, there is no 3 second delay between the cop getting out the car and shooting. There is a copy floating around at half speed, which gives the time between arrival and shooting about almost a 1 second delay. Notably, there is no change whatsoever in Rice’s body movements between arrival and shooting. So no.

      1. JCC

        OK, using the reply button as requested. If you look in the lower right hand corner of your video link, there’s a small white block. In other versions of the video which are not cropped, that’s a clock, with seconds. It’s original, not added. You can see the sequence second by second, and actually you can have the You-Tube version you posted play it back at quarter speed, although unfortunately, the surveillance camera appears to be only capturing maybe 2 frames per second at very low resolution. Remember that standard TV is about 60 frames per second I think (I’m not a video reconstruction expert) Here’s a link to NBC which has not been cropped and clearly shows the time block which is only partially visible in your link. Sorry, just saw the rules and deleted the link but just Google Cleveland Police shooting video. The NBC news link was maybe the second story.
        Anyway, one of the effects of the 2 frames per second (instead of 30 or 60 fps) if that it give the effect of jumping the image(s) forward, and essentially, compressing the time-to-movement. Next, go back to the video and zoom your screen in to the boy’s right hand as the police car pulls up. You can clearly see movement to his waistband although the video is so indistinct, you cannot see whether he actually pulls the gun or not. It may even be the boy reacting to being shot. However, the tape supposedly shows (but has been shortened not to contain on the public version) cop#2 kicking the gun away from where it’s laying on the ground right after the boy was shot. That would seem to assume somehow the gun was displaced from his pants to the ground. I don’t claim to know exactly what happened that day, but I’m not claiming anyone is lying or being dishonest or criminal in what did happen, not yet anyway. It’s obviously not something that should have happened, but that doesn’t equate with your conclusions.
        Next, as it happens, I’m retired from a large, urban U. S. police department, where I spent slightly less than 32 years. Part of the time (about 3 years), I commanded the homicide detectives and was in charge of all police-related shooting investigations (when someone was injured). Over the years, I have taught hundreds of detectives, at the local, state and Federal level, in multiple states in how to conduct (among other things) homicide investigations. I get that you’re upset about the shooting. It’s a tragedy. But rushing to judgement based solely on the video, without a careful and considered evaluation, is simply an error. I’ll be the first to call this a preventable shooting. I’d also say it’s the result of a cascade of human errors (training, tactics, the dispatch, etc), but fixing the entire blame on that rookie cop who confronted someone with a gun and had to decide in those 3 seconds what to do? That’s where you and I part ways, at least at this point. It’s just too soon.
        Just one more thing while I’m thinking of it. In the video, the passenger officer, as he shoots or more likely, immediately after (hard to tell exactly) runs the rear of the car and takes cover. He’s obviously in fear. Whether the fear is reasonable becomes the key issue I suppose, but pretty clearly, he thought he was in danger. He was probably yelling as he shot, or before he shot, or after he fired. Would anyone inexperienced (or not) be capable of actually reconstructing and articulating the exact sequence of seeing the boy, recognizing the fake gun, yelling, drawing and shooting while exiting the car, running to the back, and so on? I question whether that officer can honestly tell his story without some confusion as to the precise details, which is of course what is being demanded of him. Human nature being what it is (and the potential consequences being what they are), does anyone think the officer will say “No, I never warned him before shooting.” And the rest of us will never really know, will we? This will be another unsatisfactory resolution, no black and white, only greys, with one side or the other – or both – frustrated with the criminal justice system. But isn’t that the way it is most days, only most people just don’t get it, don’t deal with it daily like we do?

        1. SHG Post author

          Compressed surveillance video is normal. Usually compressed at 5 to 10 frames, each frame being between 1/48th and 1/64th of a second. So each “jump” equals at most 10/48th of a second, or less than a quarter second. There was no three second gap, and you aren’t entitled to make up a scenario of what happened (“he was likely…”) when there is nothing objective to show it happened and clearly objective evidence that nothing happened (there was no physical reaction by Rice).

          I’ve watched now about a dozen versions of the video, but haven’t found the one with the timer you talk about. Feel free to include the link in a comment (you get a free pass) as I would like to see what you’re talking about and can’t find it on my own.

          1. JCC

            http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/video-shows-cleveland-cop-shoot-12-year-old-tamir-rice-n256656
            You’ll see the 24 hour clock just under the seam of the sidewalk, right lower edge of the frame. In your video link, you can see that the video has been cropped, and the right side ends about the same place where the clock should be, i.e. the seam in the sidewalk, and there is a small white square just visible on the right margin. That’s where the clock has been cropped out. Click back and forth, and you can see that the NBC video shows a wider perspective that most, including the you-tube version. I assume this cropping is unintended. I thought the video captured at 2 fps, but that was from watching the clock tick off the seconds. You may be correct at the higher frame rate. However, if indeed the video is 2 fps, and the entire thing was around 3 seconds, each frame captures 1/6 of the incident.

            Remember that an experienced officer could draw and shoot 2 or 3 rounds in something like .3 of a second (from a signal, not including reaction time to a visual cue). Now go back to our rookie. He has about 1 or 2 seconds to discern whether the boy is a threat, see the gun, yell a command, open the door while trying to draw his weapon with the same hand (I’m presuming right handed), making a shoot-don’t shoot determination and firing. This all done under major stress, because he doesn’t know it’s a toy gun and the boy is only 12. He only knows someone has a gun, has been pointing it at people and now that person is about 4 feet away and drawing the same gun. We’re asking a lot of that young officer.

            “….you aren’t entitled to make up a scenario of what happened….” And, no offense, I realize this is your blog for your opinions, but I assume you put it here for reasoned discussion, so I’m offering just that. No one knows what happened at this point. I have at least as much basis to wild-ass guess as the next person to suggest what happened.
            Another link, which includes some of the audio of the dispatch traffic, indicating no age was ever mentioned, until the officers describe the young man as “about 20” after the shooting. You can also see the driver officer kick away the firearm from where it has fallen at the end of that version of the tape. http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/justice/cleveland-police-shooting/

            In the first link (NBC), the police spokesman says the video has been “compressed”, which I think means they have removed some portions between the views of the boy pointing the gun at people and the arrival of the police, not that they actually compressed the video itself.

            Over the years, I have had videos in a number of homicides (available for assistance to investigators) , usually from surveillance camera and usually as bad a qaulity or worse than this one. I would caution against a reliance on an initial impression, since that is often misleading or even flat-out wrong, when you study the video and discover something new in the 10th viewing, or the 20th, or find new physical evidence which in turn explains something seen on the video, etc. Of course, sometimes the first impression is the best. But I think even on first impression, I see something that you are certain is not there (the boy reachign for his waistband), so that the video simply reinforces our predisposition to one determination or another, however done in good faith.

            [Ed. Note: Paragraph breaks added for readability.]

            1. SHG Post author

              Thanks. I see the time block you spoke of. I ran the video about ten times, and still come out to a fraction of a second. Without original and editing equipment, I can’t break it down further, but I don’t see one second, no less three. By the time block, it would appear that each frame is a second apart, by the way. That can’t be possible, as the cruiser coming into view takes 6 frames, and it clearly doesn’t take 6 seconds to travel ~20 feet.

              I don’t know what those numbers reflect, but there is no way that was three second. Only other point, the officer kicking the gun away, shows that it was on the ground, but there is no image of it being drawn. Kid gets shot, goes down, gun falls out. It doesn’t prove my version right, but it has greater support given the absence of any image of Rice drawing the weapon. And finally, even if it was drawn, there is no image of it being pointed.

              Sorry, but I’m not seeing any way there was a 3 second elapsed period between the officer jumping out of the car and firing.

            2. Charles Platt

              I’m wondering if the more-experienced officer driving the vehicle pulled up close to the kid because, bearing in mind the message that was received, he didn’t view the kid as a very credible threat. Not knowing this, the less-experienced officer just starts blasting away. This explanation seems to make as much sense as any other.

            3. Chris Ryan

              I am involved in vehicle crash reconstruction, and have deconstructed more then a few videos. Most video cameras record at 30 frames per second with surveillance cameras averaging 3-6 frames per second. the skipping makes me think its likely 3 frames per second, and my experience says thats reasonable from the behavior of the car in the video.

              Having said that, the first time I watched the video I missed the gunfire because I assumed it was after the officer had gotten out and had stepped away from the vehicle. Now, I am not sure he had really left the car when he fired. that makes me speechless to be honest.

              As to him yelling to drop it and raise his hands, I noticed the police chief said the officer yelled as the cruiser was approaching. Hello Doppler! anyone that has ever been asked directions by a passing motorist knows how hard it is to hear someone who is inside the car.

              Chris

              ps you sure brought out a couple crazies today (steve and that racist fool)

            4. JCC

              In reply to both comments, I would postulate – from experience but still a WAG – that the driver saw the kid and had a form of target fixation. He was focused on the boy and drove right up on him as a result. In other words, temporary brain death because he was completely fixed on the visual. I don’t think in his mind he got so close because he didn’t sense a threat, more the exact opposite I suspect. That does not absolve the experienced driver from his responsibility. Had he stopped some distance away, and allowed the situation to develop, this could have been avoided. The tape doesn’t show any other civlians – maybe they’re there and don’t show – and no place the kid to run or hide, so why not just stop a little away, get behind the car, and have a conversation. Or something along those lines.
              And the passenger yelling from inside the car, even shooting from inside the car…both possible or even likely. Again, I’m guessing that the rookie was so rattled by everything that was happening, he may have been yelling something like “Drop Your Hands! Guns Up! Don’t Shoot or I’ll Move!” Not wanting to make light of this, but you see? We’re trying to parse what humans did under terrible stress in a couple of seconds. The same with the boy. His first panicked thought may have been to throw the gun away from him as far as possible. Suppose he did just that. Are we really trying to hold him responsible at 12 years old, because he didn’t hear or obey what the cops were screaming? That’s not reasonable.
              Once the police car got so close, a rookie officer just a few feet from what he perceived to be an armed and dangerous man, a scared kid who didn’t know who to react, the shooting became like a train wreck…inevitable.
              Anyway, thank you for a civil discussion, even if we failed to convince each other. We should all hope something more comes out re: this shooting. But don’t hold your breath. There’s a crappy video, two witnesses inclined to be self-serving no matter how honest they may want to be, and a dead kid. No way this will turn into anything but ugly all the way around.

            5. SHG Post author

              I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree about the efficacy of the rookie’s decision-making. That said, I appreciate your comments.

              More importantly, I owe you an apology. I challenged your qualifications for offering your opinions in your earlier comments. So you know, I don’t comment from the blog itself, but from the dashboard, which means I don’t actually see all the earlier comments in a thread and sometimes forget some of what was written at the outset. I’m old. It happens. When I had reason to look back, I saw what I had written to you. I was wrong, and I apologize.

              When someone unknown comments, I don’t know whether they’ve got 30 years on the job or are a (metaphorical) 12-year-old sitting in their mother’s basement. Most of the time, it’s the latter. In your case, you were fully, if not over, qualified to affirm ECLS’s comments and offer your own perspective. I appreciate your doing so, and apologize for having doubted you. I hope you can understand why, given the nature of pseudonymous comments on the internet, I rushed to the wrong assumption. But it was wrong, and it would have been unfortunate if my mistake had cost me and readers the benefit of your experience. Thank you for putting up with me.

            6. JCC

              That was unnecessary but very gracious. Thank you.
              By experience and temperament, I’m predisposed to sympathy for the rookie cop who is probably devastated by what happened, albeit less so than the affected family. Even on the inside (of similar instances), obligated to make a hard and fast disposition when what I saw was minor errors compounded into like tragedies, what I felt most was such frustration, that there really just was no villain on which to fairly call down the retribution. A poorly trained and ill-prepared young person, placed in a bad position by a senior officer who should have known better, perhaps placed in the car with a poor choice of training officer by superiors who should have known better, perhaps poorly informed by dispatch personnel who were improperly retained for years despite incompetent job performance, etc. So if I experience frustration, even being sympathetic to the cops, I can easily sense what others on the outside feel. BTW, I’ve been the one speaking the families of the deceased once or twice, so the grief of the family is not just a academic term to me, whatever I thought of the case itself.
              I’m again guessing, but I would think the rookie – well, his attorney – will eventually be able to make the case that he was in reasonable fear for his safety when he shot, knowing only what he knew and sensed at the time, although he’ll probably have to make that argument in front of a jury, the politics being what they are these days. This case strikes me are far more egregious than the Brown shooting, and more likely to result in an indictment, perhaps for something involving negligent homicide. All speculation of course, and dependent upon the local prosecutor and investigative facts I do not have access to.

            7. SHG Post author

              Absent information I don’t possess, I won’t ascribe malevolence or any specific bad intent to the rookie’s act. I do, however, see it as self-serving obliviousness, maybe even callousness, to the consequences of his actions. I expect he is devastated and will regret what happened for the rest of his life. But, as you note, Tamir Rice suffered more.

            8. CC

              We’re “asking a lot”? Really? Isn’t what we’re paying police for, and training them for, exactly this–handling high pressure, uncertain, and risky situations appropriately and professionally? Shouldn’t that be precisely the prerequisite for putting a lethal weapon in the hands of a state agent, and the expectation that accompanies that privilege? If that’s asking too much of rookies, maybe we shouldn’t allow them to carry guns.

              I’m getting incredibly frustrated by all the discussion of cops’ “fear” as justification for killing unarmed citizens when in ALL of these situations the cops are indisputably in the position of power, and would be EVEN IF these victims were armed and intending to shoot (which they’re not). Police are in good shape and have physical combat skills, have been trained for shooting accuracy and reaction speed, are inside cars, have back-up present at hand or a few minutes away, etc. It’s absurd that they consider their lives SO at risk in these encounters that they are justified in killing the other person. Of course I acknowledge that there is still always SOME risk, but isn’t this why we provide special benefit packages to police officers–as an acknowledgement of the risk they have voluntarily taken on, and to provide for them and their families if they are injured or killed? The citizens killed have none of that training, never signed up to risk their lives in exchange for payment, and have no safety net for themselves or their families when they are killed out of the blue.

              For all these reasons, I think the benefit of the doubt should go in the OTHER direction: if there have to be some inevitable “tragedies” from errors and miscalculations, it seems far more fair to me that the victims be those few cops that hesitated a bit too long in the wrong situation–given that they at least volunteered for the risk and are compensated for it–rather than a huge number of innocent citizens who did nothing wrong. (And given police training and the super-quick instincts they’ve displayed in all these episodes, I’m guessing such “tragedies” would end up being far more modest injuries rather than the deadly-accurate and fatal ones caused by well-trained police.) This seems like a pretty justified prerequisite for good community relations, too, given how much more corrosive state-sponsored violence/killing is–especially when in a supposedly just, impartial, protective state like ours–in comparison to a policeman’s injury or death from someone you can easily label a “criminal” and prosecute fully.

              Anyway, this absurdly out of proportion fear, if it really is what’s behind all these killings, is where the clear racism lies–black men in situations with ANY ambiguity whatsoever (or who fail to provide the desired level of deference) are instantly seen as hyper-threatening, fatally-dangerous, escalation-provoking, murder-intending monsters, who have the capacity to outdraw/out-shoot cops, overpower them, incapacitate them by “charging,” or whatever else plays out in these fantastical fears. The reality is that most black folks in the US (and other people of color) are pretty terrified of police, and with good reason; who would intentionally escalate an ordinary encounter like in these situations by pulling out a gun and shooting at an officer for no reason?? (ESPECIALLY if they are a person of color with a lifetime of experience of police mistreatment due to such fear, when not due to prejudice or overt racism.) Maybe if someone were being caught in the middle of an armed robbery there would be some incentive for them to shoot at a police officer, but is it really reasonable in any way for the FIRST assumption of a policeman, however rookie, to be that a guy of any age alone in a park, carrying a gun or not, would react to the arrival of cops by shooting at them??

              Of course, I’m implicating officer training and police policy in these condemnations too, as well as societal racism–we seem to be training cops to have a battlefield mentality (at least with certain ethnicities) that is sanctioned by these police guidelines that permit lethal force whenever a police officer fears for their life. That seems like a completely absurd basis for me in a country that prides itself on “innocent until proven guilty” and “balance of power”–it is labeling civilian citizens on the spot as enemy combatants until proven innocent, but then completely denying them ANY process, whether due or undue, to consider potential innocence; it is condemning people to death based on PERCEIVED INTENT rather than any action; and it is placing these decisions in the hands of ONE person who is outright acknowledged to be in a highly-emotional state. It pretty much goes against all the tenets of our justice system–which is actually not surprising given the origin of our modern police system, which apparently grew out of groups organized to control slaves and Native Americans (http://bit.ly/1dyLjri), who we all know were considered completely dispensable sub-humans that could be killed with impunity if not celebration.

              The points offered above and below that the fault does not lie only (or maybe even primarily) with the rookie shooter are well taken: I agree that all the people indicated are partially responsible–and therefore, I think all should be prosecuted. Even if these might have been “minor errors” if they occurred in other contexts, and even if they can be explained and understood when considering human nature, they should be treated the way other inadvertent actions leading to death are treated: as manslaughter of some degree (at the least). I’m thinking at least both cops and the call dispatcher who left out key information, though maybe also whoever’s in charge of training, dispatching, etc. Real consequences are the only thing I think will be able to counter such an ingrained societal hyper-fear of black men–if balanced with the fear of public scrutiny, a trial, and a prison sentence, maybe the two opposite kinds of fears could cancel each other out (or, in more seriousness, police would have to reshape their practices to actually prioritize avoiding unjustified killing over other things) and we’d start to see some more reasonable approaches to policing in the US.

            9. SHG Post author

              Ordinarily, lengthy comments like this get truncated for the sake of readability and because they tend to go off topic and become a secondary soapbox. Yours, however, is cogent, on-topic and very well done, and so it’s left as written. Sadly, few people read lengthy comments, which is unfortunate as yours offers much to think about.

            10. Charles Platt

              CC doesn’t mention (unless I missed it) that police work is considerably safer than many occupations. You are much more likely to die on the job doing construction work, for example. I believe posts here are not supposed to contain links, so I cannot link to a tabulation of job fatality rates. But they are easy to find, and police rates have been declining. Statistically, police are paid more, retire earlier, and enjoy more benefits than some people in other occupations where risks are higher.

  7. Ted H.

    it wasn’t a gun. for all intents and purposes this kid was unarmed. and unlike brown, didn’t get into an altercation with the police. this is worse because unlike brown the police truly shot a child. I’ve been watching the news and the lamentations over the empty seat at the brown family. the lack of proportionality and analysis is enraging.

    1. ExCop-LawStudent

      Ted, you miss the point. It doesn’t have to be a real gun. All is has to do is look like a real gun, or be reasonably perceived as a real gun by the officer, and the officer would be justified in shooting. For that matter, any legally armed person would be justified.

      Brown and Rice are completely different, completely separate issues.

      1. Ted H.

        my last comment was likely too feverish to make it past the SHG bs filter. I’ll just say that it appears that nothing (e.g. guns, toys, 300 pound 18 year olds) matters so long as the magical reasonable cop feels like his life is in danger. I posit that because the first rule of policing allows for use of lethal force whenever a cop’s life might be in danger even though more and more we find ex post facto it wasn’t, that police should no longer be considered reasonable as a matter of law for purposes of determining their own bodily saftey.

    2. Steve

      Please take an exact copy of what was used, don’t forget to take off the orange parts, and get 20 feet in front of a cop then quickly pull it out and point it at him. Let a friend shot cell phone video of this. Then your friend can show us how cops treat unarmed liberals.

      1. SHG Post author

        Point it at him? Your past two comments were merely stupid. Now, you have no cred at all. You’re next dozen comments are being trashed. Steve, you are one monumental asshole, which is certainly your right. Just not on my dime.

        1. Ted H.

          funny that he thinks I’m a liberal because I don’t excuse extra judicial killings. I usually get called all kinds of things but never liberal.

          1. SHG Post author

            In another comment that I trashed, his point was that I say this because Rice is black, but wouldn’t equally support a white man hassled by a black cop. He’s just a clueless asswipe. Forgive my language today, but I’m have my fill of stupid.

  8. ¡No mi niño, no!

    He was pointing a gun at strangers. How are cops supposed to know? This kid wasn’t executed and it’s fucking rediculous to assume he was.

    1. morgan sheridan

      Executed is exactly the right word. It was a summary execution. The video clearly shows that and there is no assumption to be made about it. There is nothing worthy of ridicule for using the correct terms.

      The video showed him playing.
      The video showed no one reacting to him playing with his toy.
      The 911 audio clearly established the caller correctly suspected the kid of being a juvenile and that the ‘gun’ was a fake. It also clearly established the caller identifying the child as being black.
      The police arrived aggressively, already escalated and he was shot and down in under 2 seconds.
      Playing with his airsoft in a park, no matter how you slice & dice it and try to chop logic, was not a crime.

      If you need assistance with defining summary execution, you can query google and look up Wikipedia’s definition along with those of the Free Dictionary, Websters, etc.

            1. morgan sheridan

              IIRC I had modified those 2 seconds with “in under”. Various noted 1.3 to 1.7 secs which are < 2 seconds.

              But ouch. My generosity is not limitless.

  9. Curtis

    Something has changed. I’m 55. When I was a child, I had a realistic looking WWII Tommy Gun. We used to run all over the neighborhood playing army and pointing our “guns” at people. It was nothing nefarious in our minds. Cops never gave it a second look if they happened to drive by. So what is it? What has conditioned today’s cops to just shoot? I have a copy of the “No Hesitation Targets” flyer that some DHS supplier was selling to the police. I am sure that may be part of the problem, but that originated after the fact. Maybe ex-cop can explain other than it is their training. It has to go deeper than that.

    1. SHG Post author

      This is an important comment. Thank you. For all those who immediately resort to “the kid had a gun, so the cops killed him,” we all had guns as kids, and the idea of a red cap on the end was unheard of. We all survived. Why not now.

      1. wes

        After the shooting one of the officers radioed in “Shots fired, male down, um, black male, maybe 20”. In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, participants were asked to asses the ages of white, Latino, and black boys aged 10-17. They overestimated the age of the black children by an average of 4.5 years.

        I watched the video and I don’t see a kid reaching for his waist, I see a kid freaked out that a police car has suddenly pulled up to him and attempting to turn and run.

      2. Neil

        For one thing, I’ve never seen anyone make the Pacifist argument against the First Law of Policing. If there is an atheist moral philosopher arguing for Pacifism I’m not aware of them, I’ve only seen the argument in religious guises. I would hope that Police officers would be exposed to these points of view, before they’re in a position where they believe they are forced to make a choice.

        1. SHG Post author

          I don’t know that I would call it pacifist. Hell, the job isn’t for cops to survive, but for all of us, cops included. Well, maybe it is pacifist.

          1. Ken Hagler

            The Coast Guard has a saying, “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.” Maybe the people who insist that armed government enforcers are necessary for humanity to survive would be satisfied if we fired all the cops and then got the Coast Guard to train their replacements.

            (Wishful thinking, I know.)

            1. SHG Post author

              Many cops are ex-military. I often think they’re the best cops, and that it’s the non-military cops who are the ones who adore the equipment, weapons, force, etc. too much. My suspicion is that the ones who’ve seen battle have gotten beyond the need to dump on their fellow citizens as a display of manhood, but that’s just my suspicion.

              By the way, my father served as CG PAO as an auxiliary for a station in Florida until he was 89.

            2. Christopher Crawshaw

              I love that! I am a paramedic and as much as I adhere to company policy and EMS ethos. I frequently remind my partners that I volunteered of my own free will and that the unofficial motto of the US LifeSaving Service/ Coast Guard is that “I have to go out, I do not have to come back.” Thank You.

    2. Dan

      Yes. There are people who like to talk about police training and things like neutralizing a threat, aiming for center mass, authorized use of lethal force in response to perceived threats, etc. Lots of mildly fancy words and seemingly solid logic. But even before one gets into police training and tactics mode, there seems to be something basic about recognizing a child at play and also something about a basic reluctance to take a human life.

      1. SHG Post author

        There are a laundry list of cultural shifts that have happened since 50 years ago, but Curtis’ point remains unscathed. These have nothing to do the children playing, and serve only as manufactured excuses to justify the unjustifiable. Curtis calls bullshit. I’m with him.

    3. Curtis

      I shudder to think what would happen to me if I was a kid today on the playground with my realistic (from a distance) looking cowboy cap gun.

      Drop the gun! Get on the ground!

      Huh? What?

      Pew-Pew-Pew-Pew-Pew-Pew!

      “When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.” – Adolf Hitler

      A new camp is being created. And I’ll go with that as the answer.

    4. Anguished

      What’s changed? Um… about fifty years has changed. Towns and cities grew, neighbors moved on and strangers moved in. Anonymity spread and globalization occurred. Governments became fearmongers to keep the population distracted and scared. War on [x] became a cliche. We brought it home when we decided to venture out and meddle with other countries. Of course it goes deeper, it’s been developed over a couple of generations now.

    5. Jerri Lynn Ward

      I remember this when I lived in Midland, Texas. After Christmas in 1964, we’d build Christmas Tree forts right near the street where we would pretend that passing cars were raiding Comanches. We’d jump up and aim at them with our Rifleman rifles. I guess we deserved a SWAT team.

      The next year, I got a 007 gun that I thought looked pretty close to the one that James Bond carried. It even shot orange plastic bullets. I shot every guy in the neighborhood with it when we were playing Combat, The Rifleman or Gunsmoke. I guess, I deserved some cop to come out and shoot me for it. I was 11 at the time and might have looked tall enough to be older.

      Fortunately, cops weren’t as stupid back then.

  10. RDNKTXN

    [Ed. Note: This commenter was very impatient and couldn’t wait for moderation, so he submitted the four comments below over a brief period of time. Since each was different, I figured he would want them all to appear, so I’ve incorporated them into one comment for the sake of convenience. Enjoy!]
    ______
    I dont know what the police could had done different. The black male approached their car,disregarded three verbals to show his hands,and pulled his weapon on them. If this would had been a white male and the same thing happened I wouldn’t be posting this right now. I’m outta here !

    ______
    Blue
    Submitted on 2014/11/28 at 4:43 am

    These police officers were following protocol.(if anyone pulls a firearm on you, shoot them) To protect and serve,to protect and save lives,including their own. This young black boy was terrorizing everyone at the park with that very realistic looking weapon,and he knowed it. Why this young black boys family would want this video released who knows. It backs up the police 110%.
    ______
    Yancy
    Submitted on 2014/11/28 at 5:04 am

    I guess the africans in Cleveland are hoping to honor this young boys death by free shopping sprees like the africans in Ferguson did. I’m sure holder and obama will try turning this tragedy into some civil rights violation too,but it won’t work. From a legal perspective it was a good shooting.
    ______
    Blue
    Submitted on 2014/11/28 at 5:17 am

    I guess if you have an opposing view on this subject your post is deleted. This black boys life ended very young. But by his behavior you could see where it was headed. This young boy was already flashing gang signs ? Pitiful ! Do africans have any positive adult influences in their lives at all ? I’m sure that is the fault of Whites too,everything else is.

    1. SHG Post author

      Cool facts you make up. Do you dream in color or black and white? Do the dreams go away when you take your meds?

  11. Piedmont

    What is your opinion of what Tamir Rice was doing at 00:21 in the video? It looks (to me) like he has both hands near his waistband and is hitching up the right side of his shirt, which is a place I might expect a gun to be. If you’re a cop (or anyone else), and someone seems to be drawing on you, what is the proper response in that split second other than to shoot first?

    That isn’t to say the cops are remotely blameless, as it seems absurdly reckless to drive up like that one someone you think is armed and dangerous. It just seems as though the problem here isn’t obviously one of a black boy and a white cop. It may be that white cops there, or anywhere else, are generally afraid of black men, but it could also be a reckless training officer disregarding standard procedure* and, as ExCop said, putting a rookie in a situation already full of the possibility of the use of deadly violence. If the problem is one of arrogance by cops toward “civilians,” focusing on race without clear evidence is unlikely to help solve the problem or get whatever justice is available here.

    *Or, worse, that local standard procedure is to do exactly what happened here.

    1. SHG Post author

      Draw your weapon, point it at the person with finger on the trigger, and yell freeze, stop, hands up. Wait until (1) you actually see a gun, and (2) see that the gun is being pointed at you. Only then shoot.

      Police officers, even rookies, should be better trained and be more adept at the use of weapons than 12-year-old children. Cops confront people with guns with some frequency, and somehow they manage not to kill them all immediately.

      This may come as shock, but in a nation with a 2nd Amendment fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms, there mere fact that someone has a gun isn’t an executable offense.

      1. ExCop-LawStudent

        If you wait until the gun is actually pointed at you, it is too late and your widow will be getting a visit by the chief.

        I’ve encountered a number of people with guns, some of whom I could have legally shot but did not, but I believe that if I were in the situation that Loehmann was in I may have shot the kid too. I also may not have, it’s impossible to say, and it is unreasonable to Monday morning quarterback this looking for the “perfect” response.

        It’s not even the legal standard, which is whether the officer acted reasonably based on the facts and circumstances known to him at the time, and whether another reasonable officer would have taken the same actions. Like I said, I may have taken the shot, it’s that close based on a poor video. It’s also based on the time and distance involved and the idiot training officer putting me way too close to the kid.

        Finally, JCC makes good points, and we really need to see what other information comes out.

        1. SHG Post author

          This is where you and I tend to disagree. Not as to the law, which we both know favors the shooter, but as to the judgment. You say that (and we’ve already discussed distances at length in another post), but you wouldn’t have jumped blindly. And when speaking to the gun being pointed, you know the difference between a gun in the waistband, a gun drawn but pointed away, and a gun moving toward you.

          With your finger on the trigger of a pointed gun, yelling hands up, you would have waited until he disobeyed your command and moved. Only then would you have reacted. You know you wouldn’t shoot a kid unless you had no choice. That’s the judgment difference.

          1. ExCop-LawStudent

            I appreciate your confidence in my judgment, but it was much better at the end of my career than at the start.

            I’m just hesitant to hang Loehmann out to dry on this, when I see Garmback as the one most responsible for the death and the one least likely to suffer consequences.

        2. Ken Hagler

          The problem with cop arguments for why it’s okay to shoot people is that they never really changed after the concealed carry laws were reformed in most of the country, and as a result there are now a great many peasants walking around every day with guns _not_ shooting people in the same circumstances that cops _do_ shoot people. For example, this afternoon I spent a couple hours surrounded by several dozen ordinary people with guns, many of whom had their guns out and were firing them. Miraculously, my range trip ended without anyone at all being shot, or even pointing a weapon at another person. I also passed close by about half a dozen dogs in the course of the day, and didn’t shoot any of them either. Clearly I’m totally unqualified to be a cop.

  12. Patrick Maupin

    there mere fact that someone has a gun isn’t an executable offense.

    You must be looking at different data than I am.

  13. Bruce

    I have always suggested that the police should carry binoculars. Checking things out from a distance is a lot more prudent than engaging the “threat” instantly without all the information.

    1. SHG Post author

      The failure to use prudence becomes a self-justifying excuse for violence. “Too close” doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a choice.

      1. morgan sheridan

        That’s a great point. I also think it is a series of choices across the leadership spectrum that allows the climate for these kinds of killings to fostered and nurtured in the first place. There is no political will to do better.

  14. Tom

    It may be just a show like Law and Order, but I’m sure they would have shut the park down, at a minimum, approach the child on foot even if they don’t know who they are dealing with. There is snow on the ground and likely no or very few people there. What a catastrophe.

  15. Anne Krone

    Tom, it is best to remember that fictional police procedural shows bear the same relation to actual police work as James Bond movies to actual espionage work.

      1. Anne Krone

        Dammit Scott, I used the reply button. I have no earthly idea why it didn’t indent properly. Though it did tell me the web captcha thingy didn’t work and I hit refresh….maybe this is the source of the reply glitch?

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  17. Brad

    Actually the chief of police is shown on camera with the statement of “the officer told the boy to drop the weapon” after he put it in his waistband…then he was shot for going for the weapon. This is pure murder, how do you drop a weapon in your waistband without going for the weapon? The boy was probably confused and wanted to do as the officer told him to..yet the officer isnt trained well enough to tell the boy to put his hands in the air if he doesnt see the gun in his waistband? This detail shouldnt be overlooked…alot of people do as cops instruct them to do, but when you instruct someone wrong and then shoot them for trying to comply then you’re a murderer..plain and simple. Raise this issue people…this cop was in the wrong..the weapon should of been removed by police after they subdued the suspect with his hands in the air..not “drop the weapon” thats in your waistband.

  18. Pingback: Tamir Rice: Did Rookie Cop Loehmann Have To Kill Him? | Simple Justice

  19. MNR

    Several people here have pointed out that the police cruiser stopped extremely close to Tamir Rice, a very poor tactical decision that could have put Officer Timothy Loehmann at apparent high risk and escalated his response. I couldn’t understand why Officer Frank Garmack would drive to the right of the wooden posts, rather than keep the vehicle on the street and maintain a reasonably safe distance. Then I used Google Earth to view the Cudell Park scene. The “street” at the bottom of the video is actually the end of a parking lot cul-de-sac, which doesn’t extend much further to the right or left of the video frame. The police cruiser is unlikely to have approached the gazebo from this parking lot. Instead, the direction and speed of the car indicate it approached from W 99th St, through a grassy area with several trees. W 99th St ends about 65 yards from the gazebo. Driving over the grass and through the trees at 30-40 mph would have only taken 7 or 8 seconds, and keeping the car to the left of the posts would have required prior knowledge of how to maneuver around them. The police cruiser was therefore probably “funneled” into position between the gazebo and the wooden posts. In retrospect, Garmack’s mistake was in not stopping sooner to maintain a safe distance between the car and suspect. Approaching the gazebo at high speed would have compromised his ability to judge the situation and react appropriately.

    Garmack was the subject of an excessive force lawsuit filed in 2012 that the Cleveland PD paid $100,000 to have dismissed. Loehmann was a rookie deemed unfit for duty at another police department before recently transferring to the CPD. The police dispatcher failed to relay reported information that the suspect in the park might be a child with a toy gun. The combination of these factors, as well as the surveillance camera footage, provides a strong public impetus to condemn the CPD and demand immediate action. If the officers are not charged in this situation or indicted by a grand jury, it will be taken as even further evidence of a broken justice system.

    Was racial bias involved? Very likely, but we can’t know for sure unless the officers admit it. However, a more obvious issue seems to be Garmack’s overzealous approach to the gazebo that put both officers in apparent jeopardy. Within a few seconds Loehmann was thrown into a possible life-threatening situation, sitting like a dead duck in the car while someone who appears to have a gun approaches. He immediately jumps out of the car and fires twice at the tall 12 year-old boy who turned out to have a toy gun. The allegation that Tamir Rice was told three times to put up his hands before being shot seems blatantly false; in fact, there doesn’t seem to be time to have said this even once, unless it was shouted from the car as it approached Rice. Upon firing the shots Loehmann scrambles around the back of the car to get away from Rice, and Garmack also keeps his distance; clearly they’re concerned about how close they are to him. If the car had stopped 30-40 feet earlier, the need to judge and react within split-seconds would have been greatly diminished. The situation could have been more carefully appraised and defused. And a 12 year-old boy playing with a toy gun in a public park wouldn’t have been needlessly killed.

    Once the police cruiser stopped 4 feet from Rice I don’t think his race mattered; being that close with what the officers believed was a weapon escalated everything beyond consideration of race. However, it’s worth asking how the officers and Rice came to be in such close proximity. We’ll likely never know whether the officers overreacted and bungled their approach to the scene due to racial stereotyping. What does seem clear is that Officer Garmack made a very questionable decision to accelerate the police response, with no evidence that anyone was being threatened or endangered. That decision smacks of Rambo heroics, incompetence, and (yes), excessive force. Officer Loehmann reportedly said he wanted to transfer to the CPD to see “more action”. It’s going to be very difficult for the CPD and Prosecutor’s Office to sweep this one under the rug.

  20. Myles

    Very surprised you published this comment. Aside from it’s length, who is this anon person who offers facts that appear nowhere else (4 feet?), what qual’s does he/she had to offer any opinion on anything. Sure, it’s interesting, but so what? Since when do pseudo commenters with no known qualification get to rant at enormous length, offer their own facts and get published here?

    1. SHG Post author

      I struggled with whether to post this comment, but decided in the end that few would read it anyway, and it was interesting enough that anyone who wanted to wade through it and took issue (it’s past 100 comments, so what are the chances it will be read by more than a handful of people anyway?) could do so.

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