Video statements by officers involved in death of Tamir Rice released: 'I didn't know it was a kid'

Posted at 9:14 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 21:48:20-04

Statements released Tuesday by an attorney representing the family of Tamir Rice is the first time officers involved in the fatal shooting have been heard just days after the incident that ignited national discourse surrounding relationships between police and communities of color. 

Rice said the pain of the last two and a half years resurfaced when she heard the officers answer the question about her son's last words.

"I didn't know it was a kid," sobs Officer Frank Garmback during the investigation interview. "I can see this kid's eyes rolling into the back of his head. He is barely breathing."

RELATED: Two of the Cleveland Police employees involved in the deadly shooting of Tamir Rice are suspended

Rice, who watched the video for the first time Monday night and more than two years after the death of her 12-year-old son, said the videos show emotional and fragile men, and rightfully so. 

"He seemed to be shaken up because it was a kid," she said in a Tuesday sit-down interview. "You ought to be."

Tamir was shot and killed November 22, 2014, at the gazebo outside the center while holding a realistic-looking Airsoft gun. Loehmann fired the fatal shot. The death of Tamir sparked national protests and calls for the Cleveland police to rebuild its relationship with communities of the color. 

FULL COVERAGE: Fatal shooting of Tamir Rice

The video is far from the closure Rice has been seeking. 

"I don't care nothing about your tears because I am going to be crying for the next 100 years," she said.

Minutes before they arrived, Garmback recalls getting the call from dispatch about an armed black male at the Cudell Recreation Center. He says he walked his trainee, Officer Timothy Loehmann through possible scenarios.

"[Loehmann] starts going, 'well I'd get out of the car, I'd have to be in a certain stance' and I stopped him at that point. I said 'this is a gun run be prepared for a worst-case scenario.'"

In a separate video, Loehmann recounts a similar conversation. 

"We are going to be very cautious," he said.

Loehmann's tone is more textbook when describing the moment he fired the fatal shot.

"The subject had the gun like so in the abdomen area and then fired two shot and attempted to take cover," he said.

However, Rice said it wasn't the details of the shooting that will stay with her. But rather when officers explained, Tamir didn't have any last words, he just moaned.

"That crushed me," she said, "I am sure he was trying to ask for help."

Rice continues to push for both officers to be fired from the force. 

Her attorney Subodh Chandra released the following statement.

"The inconsistencies among the officers' video-recorded statements, their prewritten and un-cross-examined statements to the grand jury, and the video of the shooting underscore how important it is for the safety director, police chief, and mayor to finally hold these officers accountable. The Rice family hopes that these officials at long last comprehend that Clevelanders deserve far better than having these two incompetent individuals continue to carry guns and badges."