No ev­i­dence po­lice told boy to raise hands

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have found no hard ev­i­dence a Cleve­land po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot a 12-yearold boy car­ry­ing a pel­let gun or­dered the child to raise his hands be­fore open­ing fire.

Doc­u­ments re­leased Satur­day by the pros­e­cu­tor han­dling the racially charged case de­tail the mo­ments be­fore the brief, deadly en­counter— and how the re­spond­ing of­fi­cers seemed al­most shell-shocked as Tamir Rice lay dy­ing out­side a recre­ation cen­ter.

Cleve­land po­lice have said Ti­mothy Loehmann, the of­fi­cer who fired the fa­tal shot, told Tamir three times to put his hands up, then opened fire when the boy reached for the pel­let gun tucked into his waist­band.

Grainy, choppy sur­veil­lance video shows Loehmann fir­ing two shots within two sec­onds of his po­lice cruiser skid­ding to a stop near the boy. Cuya­hoga County sher­iff ’s de­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gat­ing the shoot­ing wrote that, on the ba­sis of wit­ness in­ter­views, it was un­clear whether Loehmann shouted any­thing to Tamir from in­side the cruiser be­fore open­ing fire.

Tamir was black; the of­fi­cers are white.

Pros­e­cu­tor Tim McGinty has said the case, as with all po­li­cein­volved shoot­ings in the ju­ris­dic­tion, will be taken to a grand jury to de­ter­mine whether crim­i­nal charges should be filed against Loehmann or his part­ner, Frank Garm­back.

An FBI agent who is a trained para­medic was on a bank rob­bery de­tail nearby. He be­gan ad­min­is­ter­ing first aid four min­utes af­ter the shoot­ing. The agent, whose name is redacted from the files, told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that Tamir’s wound was se­vere but that ini­tially he was con­scious. Tamir, he said, showed a re­sponse when he told him he was there to help.

Loehmann, 26, and Garm­back, 47, have been crit­i­cized for not giv­ing Tamir first aid. The of­fi­cers seemed to freeze, the agent said. “They wanted to do some­thing, but they didn’t know what to do,” the agent said.

Loehmann’s at­tor­ney, Henry Hilow, said he has not had a chance to read the in­ves­tiga­tive file and said the of­fi­cer com­mit­ted no wrong­do­ing.

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