The family of a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun when he was shot by a Cleveland police officer have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.
The federal lawsuit filed on Friday against the city and two officers said the police acted recklessly when they confronted Tamir Rice outside a recreation center.
Surveillance video, released by police, shows Tamir being shot within two seconds of a patrol car stopping near him at a park on November 22.
It showed the boy reaching in his waistband for what police later discovered was an airsoft gun, which shoots non-lethal plastic projectiles.
Tamir died the next day.
Police have said rookie officer Tim Loehmann believed the boy had a real firearm.
The shooting has sparked several protests across the city.
Tamir was laid to rest on Wednesday. Two hundred mourners, many wearing white ‘R.I.P. Tamir’ t-shirts, paid their respects to the young boy at his funeral service at Mount Sinai Baptist Church.
The boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, hid behind sunglasses as she took her seat next to the boy’s father, Leonard Warner, and their daughters, while mourners pored over photographs of Tamir.
During the service, the boy’s great-uncle called for people to fight for change through peaceful protest and called for the congregation to give Tamir a voice.
‘Tamir can no longer speak for himself. This is why Tamir must live through us. We must now be his voice,’ Michael Petty said.
‘Through us, Tamir will be heard from the grave. Through us, Tamir will prevent further senseless shootings… not only in Cleveland, but in this nation.’
He added that police need to change how they train officers and take a closer look at how they communicate with dispatchers after messages were apparently not properly relayed to the officers in Tamir’s case.
‘We must now be his advocate for change and reform,’ Petty said, NBC reported. ‘Through peaceful protest, civil disobedience, and legislation, Tamir will be heard.’
A teacher who taught Tamir at Marion C. Seltzer Elementary School also spoke at the services and said he was ‘well liked’ and ‘would laugh and talk with students he didn’t even know’.
She said that while he loved to draw and play basketball, he was sometimes challenged by school work. She then turned to Tamir’s mother.
‘I thank you for your son’s life,’ she said. ‘He will be greatly missed.’
The boy was remembered ten days after 26-year-old rookie cop Timothy Loehmann fatally shot him in a city park following a 911 call saying the boy was ‘waving around a gun’ and pointing it at people.
It has since emerged that the 911 dispatcher did not rely the caller’s comments that the weapon might be fake, and the officer shot the boy less that two seconds after he arrived on the scene.
Footage of the incident shows the officers pulling up beside the boy in a park and yelling at him to put his hands up, authorities say.
But rather than raise his hands, the boy apparently reaches towards his waist band and Loehmann shoots the boy. He died the following day.
After the shooting, it emerged that the boy was just 12 and was carrying a replica ‘airsoft’ gun.
Airsoft guns fire non-lethal spherical plastic pellets and have orange tips to show they aren’t real firearms, but police said the one the boy had didn’t have the bright safety indicator, making it indistinguishable from a real firearm.
Following his death, protesters demonstrated in the street and blocked up major intersections.