by Corey Shaffer, January 7, 2015
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland police officers forced Tamir Rice’s 14-year-old sister to the ground, handcuffed her and placed in the back of a Cleveland police car steps away from her wounded 12-year-old brother.
The scene plays out within the first two minutes of the 30 minute video taken from the Cudell Recreation Center surveillance camera that captured the shooting. The additional video was obtained by Northeast Ohio Media Group after protracted talks with city officials, who initially refused to release it.
An attorney representing the Rice family called the video “shocking and outrageous.”
“This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen,” Akron-based attorney Walter Madison said.
The video confirmed earlier claims made by Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, and her legal team at a Dec. 8 press conference that an officer cuffed her daughter as she ran to check on her brother and that officers waited several minutes before administering first aid.
The girl, who was at the park with Tamir, ran to her brother’s side when she heard two gunshots fired by first-year Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann.
As the girl neared her brother, Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback confronted her and forced her to the ground. Loehmann rushed over, and the two knelt beside her as she rolled on the ground. Eventually the officers handcuffed the girl and placed her in the back of the police cruiser, less than 10 feet from her dying brother.
Officers then stood around Tamir as he lay wounded. One officer had his hands on his hips when a man, identified by police as an FBI agent who was in the neighborhood, entered the frame and administered first aid. It was the first medical care the boy received in the four minutes that followed the shooting.
Paramedics did not arrive until about eight minutes after the shooting. Much of what happened to Tamir after the shooting is blocked by Garmback and Loehmann’s squad car. The paramedics can be seen working as officers stand around the boy.
Tamir is whisked away on a stretcher a little over 13 minutes after the shooting.
Madison said the video depicted officers who showed “overwhelming indifference” to Tamir as he lay on the ground.
“No one thinks that it’s appropriate to try to save him,” Madison said. “The first person who does is not affiliated with the Cleveland police department.
“This is the level of service that makes people very upset and distrustful of law enforcement.”
Northeast Ohio Media Group reached out to officials with the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. They were not immediately for comment Wednesday night.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration denied Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Dec. 11 request for 90 minutes of footage after the shooting, arguing it was part of “an open and ongoing investigation” and was therefore exempt from public viewing.
The organization hired attorney David Marburger, an authority on Ohio public records law. After three weeks of demands, the city agreed to turn over 15 minutes of video.
The video raises more questions for Madison, who said the family wants to know why Cleveland police hired Loehmann after he was on his way to being fired from Independence police in 2012 and was turned down by several other area police agencies before he joined the city’s force.
“This video really explains why,” Madison said. “This is not the professional standard we would expect or deserve, and the city of Cleveland put him in the position to allow this to happen.”
Jackson announced last week that he was handing the investigation over to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.
Chief Clifford Pinkney, second in rank only to Sheriff Frank Bova, will lead a team of detectives in probing the shooting. Pinkney has promised to conduct a thorough review.
The department will hand over its evidence to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s office. Prosecutors will present the evidence to a grand jury, which will decide whether to criminally indict any officers involved.
Corey Shaffer, “Extended Tamir Rice shooting video shows officers restrained sister”, Northeast Ohio Media Group, January 7, 2015, http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/extended_tamir_rice_shooting_v.html#incart_m-rpt-1