Following the release of a video showing Tamir Rice being shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer, the 12-year-old's parents issued a statement on Wednesday in which they asked for peace in their community.
They also thanked the Cleveland Police Department for releasing the surveillance video, which showed an officer making the decision to shoot the boy within seconds.
"The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly,” the statement said, according to Fox 8 in Cleveland. The parents asked for their community to "protest peacefully and responsibly” after they gave CCTV permission to release the footage. “Your prayers, kind words and condolences have meant so much to us.”
It was later revealed that Tamir was not carrying an actual firearm, but a pellet gun.
“It is our belief that this situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us,” the statement continued. “We understand that some of you are hurt, angry and sad about our loss. But let’s use those emotions in a way that will contribute to positive efforts and solutions that bring change to Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and cities across the nation as it relates to how law enforcement officials interact with citizens of color.”
The entire statement can be read here, courtesy of Fox 8 in Cleveland.
The call for peace comes after riots overtook Ferguson, Monday. Unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson and a grand jury decided they would not indict him for Brown’s death. The St. Louis suburb erupted, with dozens of people being detained Monday night. Since then, over 400 people have been arrested throughout the nation for protests related to Brown’s death, Reuters reported.
In the black-and-white video footage, Tamir can been seen sitting in a gazebo at a playground and then walking up to a police car when it rides near. Seconds later, Tamir falls to the ground after Timothy Loehman, 26, shoots him twice.
Loehman had only joined the force in March, NBC News wrote. He reportedly yelled at Tamir to show his hands three times before he shot him.
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