by CHRYSTAL STASICKY Media Editor
A 12-year-old boy was shot by a police officer on a Saturday evening of November 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tamir E. Rice was at the Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard when rookie police officer and a 15 year veteran Tim Loehmann shot him in the stomach.
A man at the park near the Recreation Center called the Cleveland police station and reported that he could see “a guy with a pistol” who was possibly a juvenile on the swing set. He also reported that Rice kept pulling the gun out of his pants and “scaring the s–t out of everyone”. The caller clearly said that the gun was “probably fake”, but even so, he was pointing it at everybody.
When the police responded to the call, they saw a group of people sitting under a gazebo next to the recreation center’s parking lot; Rice was sitting with the black pistol resting on the table. Loehmann saw the pistol from the car, watching the boy grab it and place it in his waistband reported Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Jeff Follmer.
Loehmann then got out of the car and demanded Rice to raise his hands where he could see them. Rice, however, ignored the request and reached into his waistband and grabbed the pistol instead.
Loehmann had no choice but to take out his own firearm and fire two shots at Rice, one of which connected with his stomach.
Rice was immediately taken to the MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition, and he died the next morning.
After the shooting and rush to the hospital, police found out that the gun was actually a BB gun that had the orange safety cap removed.
Senior Cassandra Messores said, “You know I could understand that the boy was a threat to the officers, but if the caller said that the gun was probably fake then why didn’t they investigate it further? Not only that, but he is a 12-year-old boy so he has no idea how a gun would work. Therefore, it just does not make sense to me that he was so much of a threat that Officer Loehmann had to kill him.”
Timothy Kucharski, the attorney hired by Ride’s family, pointed out that Rice never aimed the gun at the officer.
The two officers, including Loehmann, who responded to the call are now on administrative leave until the results of the department’s investigation are complete.
The investigation includes Loehmanns’ previous position as an officer with the Independent Police. He was in the process of being fired because he lacked maturity; he also had an emotional meltdown during firearm training.
Loehmann admitted that he had a similar meltdown during police academic training. He was not only fired from the Independent Police due to his lack of maturity, but also his lack of mental preparedness.
“I cannot believe Cleveland even allowed for Loehmann to become a police officer with this kind of history. I am not blaming Loehmann for defending himself because he had every right to, but I feel like Cleveland should feel responsible for their officer killing an innocent child,” said sophomore Sara Wysokowski.
How do you feel about Loehmann shooting Rice? Was he justified because he was protecting himself or was he wrong because Rice was obviously an innocent child?