Warning: This video may contain graphic images. Surveillance video captured Nov. 22, 2014 shows a Cleveland police officer fatally shoot 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard. This video is taken during a Cleveland Police press conference. An uncut version of this video will be available once provided by Cleveland Police.
We discussed the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a rookie Cleveland police officer on Monday, noting:
In instances like this, or the shooting of Andy Lopez, who was killed by an extremely well trained veteran officer while was carrying a realistic-looking AKM, the deciding factor that might have changed the outcome might have been a bit of time and distance for observation, a luxury they don’t typically have.
If officers had observed the boys in either instance from a distance for even a minute, they’d likely have had clues as to whether or not they were dealing with a real weapon.
It is clear from this video that officers gave themselves neither time nor distance to observe Rice.
The officer driving the patrol vehicle drove right up to the edge of the gazebo/shelter where Rice had been sitting, and if Rice had been a criminal armed with a real weapon to and bad intent, he could have easily killed both officers before they even got out of the car. The poor vehicle placement by the officer driving raised the stakes tremendously, putting the rookie in the passenger seat just feet away from what he thought was a man armed with a gun.
But Rice didn’t have a real gun, or much time to respond to police commands. He was shot within three seconds of the squad car stopping. There was precious little time for his twelve-year-old mind to comprehend what was going on and comply before the officer on the passenger side shot him from just feet away.
This was not murder. I’m not sure that a jury would convict on even manslaughter.
It was the second time in recent months that Ohio law enforcement officers responded to 911 calls by concerned citizens, and then shot and killed people holding airguns with three seconds of arriving on scene, allowing them no time to process and respond to officer commands. Neither John Crawford nor Tamir Rice had committed a crime. They’re no less dead because of it.