A video released Wednesday by the Cleveland Police Department shows a police officer getting out of his squad car and shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice seconds later. The choppy and grainy video does not show the details of Tamir’s movements, but police pointed to what they said was the boy reaching for a pellet handgun that police mistook for a real firearm, according to NBC News. Deputy Chief Ed Tomba made it clear that the Rice family had seen the video and wanted it released. He said the release of the video was not meant to place blame on either the officers or Tamir.
“This is not an effort to exonerate, it's not an effort to show the public that anybody did anything wrong,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “This is an obvious tragic event where a young member of our community lost their life. We've got two officers that were out there protecting the public that just had to, you know, do something that nobody wants to do.”
Watch the video via WKYC, here. It shows Tamir walking around the street and clearly pointing the gun at various passersby before sitting down at a gazebo, where he was shot.
Cleveland Police also released the name of the officer who shot and killed Tamir and the 911 call that led to the officers’ response. The officer who pulled the trigger is 26-year-old rookie Timothy Loehman. He was sitting in the passenger seat of a squad car driven by an eight-year veteran, 46-year-old Frank Garmback. Tamir was asked three times to show his hands, after which he reached towards his waistband where he was keeping the toy gun; at that point, Loehman shot him twice.
The person who made the call to 911 told the dispatcher, "The guy keeps pulling a gun out of his pants. It's probably fake, but you know what? It's scaring the s--t out of me."
The dispatcher did not relay that the gun could be fake to Loehman and Garmback.
The video and the media coverage of the incident has spurred harsh criticism on social media.
I mean they didn't even stop the car before the officer shot #TamirRice. WHO HOPS OUT SHOOTING? This isn't a Western.
â€” britni danielle (@BritniDWrites) November 26, 2014
#TamirRice was KILLED by police and the media is focusing on showing he came from a “bad family” how is this not about race?
â€” Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) November 26, 2014
The shooting ignited protests around Cleveland this week and came just days before a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown.