Tamir Rice's mother wants criminal conviction, dismissal of top city staff after son's death

Posted at 11:28 AM, Dec 08, 2014
and last updated 2017-05-30 10:38:52-04

The family of Tamir Rice called for a criminal conviction and for the immediate dismissal of two high-ranking city officials at a press conference Monday.

Samaria Rice, the mother of the 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Cleveland Police officer last month, spoke to local media for the first time since her son's death.

Rice spoke from Olivet Institutional Baptist Church at 11 a.m. She told reporters that her primary objective is to pursue a criminal conviction for Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehman, who shot Tamir at a west side playground.

Councilmember Jefferey Johnson also asked for the immediate resignation or dismissal of Cleveland Safety Director Michael McGrath and Special Executive Assistant to the Mayor Martin Flask.

MORE: Tamir Rice's mom Samaria Rice said son was bright child, had promising future before shot by police

"This family is asking that people stand with them so that their child's life will not be swept under the rug, so that his death will not be in vain," said the family's attorney Benjamin Crump.

Crump said that that Rice family has unanswered questions, including what he called a "breakdown in communications" between the 911 dispatcher and police responding to the report.

The 911 caller tells the dispatcher that a kid is waving a gun at a playground, but that it is probably fake. The dispatcher did not tell the responding officers that the suspect may be a child or that the caller believed the gun may be fake.

"Several things were done inappropriately to kill their 12-year-old child while he played with a toy gun at the playground just yards—not 100 yards away from their house," Crump said.

The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Cleveland Police in Tamir Rice's death, and the shooting has spurred several protests over the last two weeks.

Samaria Rice told the media that her 14-year-old daughter was tackled and placed in handcuffs in the police cruiser and questioned without an adult present.

She also said that Tamir Rice got the toy gun he was pointing at people in the park from a friend. "I don't allow that type of toy in my house, around him, period," she told reporters.

She was told about her son's shooting by a knock at her door. Two boys who lived in the neighborhood told Rice her son had been shot by police.

She added that police threatened to put her in the cruiser, too, if she did not calm down.