Two expert witnesses, reviewing the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, say they believe a Cleveland Police officer’s use of deadly force “falls within the realm of reasonableness.”
On November 22nd 2014, Tamir Rice was shot by Officer Timothy Lehmann after 911 dispatchers received a call that there was a male at the recreation center park waving a gun. He passed away the following day. Rice was apparently on a swing in the playground pulling a gun from his pants and pointing it at people as they passed by.
The 911 caller told the dispatcher that the male was “probably” a juvenile and the gun he was waving was “probably” a fake. The dispatcher, however, did not relay all of the information given by the caller to the officers.
As the officers arrived on the scene, they witnessed an individual matching the description provided by dispatch standing by a gazebo. The male, according to Officer Lehmann, told Rice to put his hands in the air, but instead the 12-year-old reached for his waistband. Officer Loehmann made literally a two-second decision to defend his life and fired two rounds into Rice’s abdomen.
Another officer who recovered the pellet gun from the scene after Tamir was shot told investigators he first thought the gun was a semi-automatic pistol and was surprised when he realized it wasn’t real, Sims noted.
All of the orange markings identifying the air soft gun as a toy had been removed.