No evidence that police officer ordered Tamir Rice to raise hands before shooting

Investigators have found no hard evidence a Cleveland police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun ordered him 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.

Cuyahoga County sheriff’s detectives investigating the shooting wrote that, based on witness interviews, it was unclear if officer Timothy Loehmann shouted anything to Tamir from inside the cruiser before opening fire.

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

But grainy, choppy surveillance video shows Loehmann firing two shots within two seconds of his police cruiser skidding to a stop near the boy.

Tamir’s death is among a series of cases involving the use of deadly force on black suspects that sparked protests and outrage across the country. Tamir was black, the officers are white.

Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said the case, as with all police-involved shootings, will be taken to grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback. McGinty said he decided to release the investigative file now in the interests of transparency.

‘If we wait years for all litigation to be completed before the citizens are allowed to know what actually happened, we will have squandered our best opportunity to institute needed changes in use of force policy, police training and leadership,’ McGinty said.

A friend told deputies he had given the pellet gun to Tamir hours before the shooting with the warning to be careful because it looked real, according to the documents.

The friend told sheriff’s deputies he had given the airsoft-type gun to him on the morning of November 22 in exchange for one of the boy’s cellphones and planned to get it back later that day.

The friend said he had taken the gun apart to fix it and been unable to reattach the orange cap that goes on the barrel to indicate it isn’t the .45-caliber handgun it’s modeled after.

Investigators were told that Tamir used the airsoft gun, which shoots non-lethal plastic projectiles, to shoot at car tires that day.

More at The DailyMail

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