No evidence police told boy to raise hands
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.