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Officers' statements released in Tamir Rice case

Posted: 7:41 PM, Dec 01, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-01 19:41:00-05

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty released statements from the officers involved in the shooting of Tamir Rice last year.

The officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November and his partner testified in front of a grand jury Monday, his attorney told newsnet5.com's Sarah Buduson.

The officer who shot the boy, Timothy Loehmann, wrote that he "had very little time" as he exited the vehicle:

We are trained to get out of the cruiser because "the cruiser is a coffin." I observed the suspect pulling the gun out of the waistband with his elbow coming up.  Officer Garmback and I were still yelling "show me your hands." 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.

Loehmann and Garmback both write that Tamir Rice reached for his waistband and that they yelled at him to show his hands before Loehmann shot him twice.

READ
Timothy Loehmann's statement
F
rank Garmback's statement

A grand jury is meeting now about the shooting, in which a 12-year-old brandishing a pellet gun was fatally shot at a Cleveland recreation center just over a year ago. 

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Monday, we reported that Tamir's mother Samaria Rice testified before the grand jury about the shooting.

Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra released a statement about the information released today:

For the prosecutor to allow police officers who are supposed to be targets of a criminal investigation to submit unsworn statements in response to grand-jury subpoenas requiring live testimony is yet again a stunning irregularity that further taints these proceedings. No ordinary citizen who is under investigation would be afforded this special treatment.

The officers’ statements do not establish that their conduct in shooting Tamir Rice was reasonable. Submitting self-serving, unsworn written statements—rather than appearing live before the grand jury so that the officers' versions of events are subject to vigorous cross examination—shows that these officers know their story will not withstand real scrutiny. The officers' statements are inconsistent with one another and the objective video footage contradicts the officers' claims. Loehmann, for example insists that he observed things and took action that would have been physically impossible for any human being to do in the under 2 seconds it took him to shoot a 12-year-old child. While Loehmann claims to have issued at least three commands in under two seconds, Garmback admits the windows to the police vehicle were up, demonstrating that his partner's claims are false.

And of course, neither officer explains why they left a 12-year-old boy bleeding and dying on the ground after shooting him.

The Rice family hopes that the grand jury will see through this and seek justice for Tamir with an indictment.

The incident started when a man in the park adjacent to Cudell Recreation Center saw Tamir playing with an airsoft gun, which shoots plastic pellets.

The man called 911 and reported a "black male sitting on a swing... pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people."

FULL TAMIR RICE COVERAGE

The 911 caller also told the dispatcher the gun was "probably fake" and the black male may be a juvenile, but those two pieces of information were never communicated to the responding officers.

The gun bore a striking resemblance to a real firearm, in part because its tell-tale orange tip had been removed.

Footage recorded by a surveillance camera shows rookie patrol officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of a patrol car skidding to a stop.

Questions remain about whether Loehmann told Tamir to raise his hands before firing two shots, one of which struck Tamir.

He died at MetroHealth Medical Center the next day.

newsnet5.com initially reported that the officers testified in front of the grand jury. In fact, written statements they wrote were read to the grand jury.