“Most law enforcement officers would rather take a bullet than shoot a toddler. However, Tamir Rice was not a toddler and, even if his age was known at the time of the incident, he was perfectly capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury.”
That’s not a tweet. It’s not a Facebook status. It’s a line from an official review by two “experts” who believe that 12-year-old Tamir Rice was justifiably shot and killed on a Cleveland playground.
Let’s rewind for a minute. On Nov. 22, 2014, someone called Cleveland officers in fear of a person having a gun. This person, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, was playing with a toy guy on a playground in Ohio when officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice within seconds of arriving at the scene. No questions asked, no dialogue, no attempt to understand the situation. Just shooting, killing, and not caring who the target was or could’ve been.
The video, which is too chilling for many to watch, shows what many agree was a lethal overreaction by a trigger-happy cop. Once again, black boys are forced to bear the burden of adult worries too early. Tamir Rice, a young boy with a toy, was seen my an officer as dangerous, deadly, and a threat to society.
Most would agree that the the officer-in-training was completely out of line, but not two “experts.” Lamar Sims, Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Office of the Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey, a veteran to investigating officer shootings, told ABC News that, “a police officer could’ve believed Rice’s gun was a real firearm.” Therefore, the murder was justified. FBI agent Kimberly A. Crawford, who’s taught classes in the use of deadly force, asserted that “not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one.”
Not only do we live in a nation that runs on a law enforcement system that feels it’s ok to shoot at children with no questions asked, but we also live with “experts” who defend them. There is no real investigation, there is no accountability, there is no care. Once again, our nation and our law enforcement, the folks that are supposed to be protecting us, have made it clear that our men, our women and our children do not matter.
The case is far from over. The Rice family attorney, Subodh Chandra, has already vowed to fight for someone to show accountability in this murder. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who recently met with Black Lives Matter activists, tweeted her support for the Rice family on Monday morning. The evidence from both sides will be presented to the grand jury.
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