The Cleveland police department, at a 1 p.m. news conference scheduled for Wednesday, is set to release video footage of the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC reported. There were conflicting reports about the sharpness of the surveillance video.
The 12-year-old was shot on Saturday after police received reports of a person with a gun outside a Cleveland recreation center. Tamir, who was black, was carrying an airsoft gun that resembled a real firearm, and allegedly reached into his waistband to retrieve it when a white officer told him to put his hands up. A person who called 911 to report the incident had said the gun “might be a fake,” according to Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS.
While WKYC said the video clearly shows the shooting, WEWS reported that the surveillance footage was low-resolution and highly compressed, which it said means that the images “are not crystal clear.” The frame rate of about two frames per second is also slow, so Tamir's motions will appear “jerking” and “time lapsed” in the footage, sources with knowledge of the investigation told the ABC affiliate.
The decision to release the shooting video came a day after Tamir’s family called for its release. The police department was initially reluctant to make the video public, citing concerns for the officer and Tamir’s family.
“We respectfully request that [Cleveland] Mayor Frank Jackson and the City of Cleveland Division of Police release the complete video of the incident involving our son, Tamir E. Rice, and two unnamed patrol officers on Nov. 22, 2014,” the family said in a statement, according to Cleveland’s Fox affiliate. “While we request the release of the complete video, we also ask for the media to give our family privacy as we continue to grieve and learn about what happened. We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son’s life must be made public.”