Tamir Rice made the fatal mistake of drawing a realistic pistol from his waistband as a Cleveland police officer exited a marked car just feet away.
Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann had no choice but to respond to basic law enforcement training and fire his service pistol at what appeared to be a man drawing a gun on him.
Despite the protests by “Black Lives Matter” activists and anti-police radicals who absurdly claimed that officers should know that a 5’7″, 195 lbs figure in baggie clothes with a hoodie obscuring his facial features was a 12-year-old child with a toy gun, three use-of-force experts and prosecutors all agreed that Officer Loehmann should not face criminal charges. It was a tragic incident, driven entirely by Rice’s poor decisions to point a realistic gun at people in a public park (resulting in a 911 call), and then drawing that weapon from his waistband as police arrived.
In hopes of avoiding a drawn-out civil case and even more public relations damage resulting from Rice’s death, Cleveland recently reached a $6 million settlement with his family.
The head of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association is suggesting that the family spend some of that money to educate other youths about the dangers of using both real and simulated firearms, which apparently infuriates both the family and Cleveland.com.
Subodh Chandra, an attorney representing the Rice family, blasted Loomis’ release in an emailed statement. He said that the comments “reflect all that is wrong with Cleveland’s police division — he managed to (1) blame the victim, (2) equate the loss of the life of a 12-year-old child with the officers facing scrutiny, and (3) demand money from the victim’s family and counsel.
“Loomis’s continued posturing shows he and the union still don’t comprehend that the police division needs a cultural change — not hiring incompetents, better training, and greater accountability,” Chandra continues. “We’re all still in trouble if Loomis’s attitude reflects rank-and-file officers’ attitudes.”
I hate to point out the obvious to the Rice family and their attorney, but it is entirely fair to “blame the victim” when it was the specific actions of the victim that led to his demise. Again, Rice pointed a realistic gun at several people in public (that’s called “assault with a deadly weapon” in most jurisdictions), worrying a citizen enough to make a 911 call. Rice then drew the realistic gun from his pants when the squad car stopped just feet away (again, a felony assault), putting officers in fear for their lives.
Loomis wasn’t being mean or wrong when he noted that Rice’s behavior led to his death.
He was stating obvious facts. Chandra’s grandstanding cannot change those key facts.
When a suspect draws what appears to be a weapon on uniformed officers at close range, they’re going to get shot. Tamir Rice died because he made poor choices. Loomis made a suggestion on how the family could use their civil settlement to help teach other children and families to avoid making those same poor decisions.
That seems like a good use for the settlement money to me, but perhaps the Rice family doesn’t care any more about being responsible after Tamir’s death than they did about teaching him to be responsible with realistic toy guns while he was alive.