The Cleveland Police Officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice has released a testimony of his accounts of the tragic event.
The police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice have finally broken the silence on the devastating event that occurred more than a year ago. According to a report from CNN, Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann authored a signed statement that was turned into investigators and released by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.
In the report, Loehmann did not acknowledge Tamir, the victim of the shooting, by name. According to his account of the event, the officer witnessed Tamir “Pick up an object and stick it down his waistband.” Loehmann yelled “show me your hands” as loudly as he could, and he said that the boy appeared to be older than 18 years and weighed about 185 pounds. Loehmann believed that the victim was brandishing a real gun when he opened fire.
“With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active,” the officer wrote in his statement of the November 22, 2014 incident.
Tamir Rice was hit with two bullets and died as a result of the shooting, which took place outside of a Cleveland recreation center. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office released a statement from Loehmann’s partner, saying that he also perceived the gun to be a real and credible threat.
Tamir’s gun, however, was not a lethal weapon; it was simply a pellet gun that was mistaken by the officers from a distance. The episode sparked nationwide controversy in the wake of increasingly focused attention on the slaying of unarmed African-Americans by law enforcement officials. Tamir’s family has called on a special prosecutor to oversee the case, hoping to eliminate any bias perceived on the part of the county prosecutor. The investigation of the incident is ongoing, and a grand jury is likely to make a decision once all of the evidence becomes available.
A transcript of the police officer’s testimony can be found here.