Family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice killed by white police officer to remain peaceful

The family of 12-year-old black boy Tamir Rice, who was shot dead in Cleveland by police while carrying a toy gun, have urged supporters not to turn to violence.

As protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the acquittal of police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown have spread to cities across America Tamir’s relatives have appealed for calm.

The schoolboy was shot twice less than two seconds after police officers arrived at the scene following a 911 call that a ‘guy was pointing a gun’ at people in a playground in a poor neighbourhood of Cleveland on Saturday.

A video released by Cleveland Police Department on Wednesday clearly showed the boy had been pointing the gun at passers-by.

But his family claim the situation could have been resolved peacefully and there was no need to kill the 12-year-old.

Today they issued a new statement, urging supporters not to allow the situation to copy events in Ferguson, Missouri.

It says: ‘Again, we ask for the community to remain calm. Please protest peacefully and responsibly.

‘Your prayers, kind words and condolences have meant so much to us.

‘We understand that some of you are hurt, angry and sad about our loss.

‘But let’s use those emotions in a way that will contribute to positive efforts and solutions that bring change to Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and cities across the nation as it relates to how law enforcement officials interact with citizens of color.’

The family said they now want prosecutors to examine the video and the killing – suggesting the family would like to see charges brought.

‘We have seen the video that shows our son, Tamir, being shot and killed by a City of Cleveland police officer. It is our belief that this situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us,’ they said in the statement, released through their lawyer.

‘The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly.

‘It is our hope that the City of Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office thoroughly examine the events outside of the Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014.

‘We thank the City of Cleveland Division of Police for making the video public. We will await the results of their investigation.’

The killing is the latest death of a black boy or young man to create concern and comes in the wake of the shooting in August of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

Tamir was killing on Sunday after being spotted walking down a road waving what appeated to be a gun.

Minutes after he was shot it emerged that Tamir had actually been carrying an ‘airsoft’ gun that is difficult to distinguish from a real firearm.

Airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets, are supposed to have orange tips to show they are not real firearms but police claim the boy’s toy did not have the bright safety indicator.

Several hundred people held a demonstration in downtown Cleveland and blocked rush-hour traffic on a busy freeway for an hour on Tuesday night in protest of the Tamir’s killing.

Police diverted traffic but didn’t take action against the protesters, who chanted phrases such as ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ and ‘No justice, no peace’ as they sat in a major intersection.

More at The DailyMail

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