VIDEO: The Moment Cleveland Police Officer Gunned Down 12-Year-Old With a BB Gun
Cleveland police have released surveillance footage showing 12-year-old Tamir Rice being shot by a police officer who mistook his BB gun for a real firearm.
On Saturday, 26-year-old rookie officer Timothy Loehmann arrived at a playground after a bystander called 911 to report a child waving a gun around.
The caller told 911 that it wasn’t clear if it was a toy gun or a real one but the audio reveals that the dispatcher did not tell the responding officer that.
The newly released video shows Rice reaching for his waistband instead of complying with Loehmann’s order to raise his hands. Loehmann and another responding officer shot him just two seconds after arriving.
The audio also reveals the police thought the 12-year-old was around 20 years old.
“Shots fired,” one of the officers said into the radio after the boy was shot. “Male down, black male, maybe 20, black handgun.”
Only later was it revealed that the 20-year-old male with a black handgun was actually a 12-year-old with an airsoft gun.
Police said the boy had removed the plastic orange tip that distinguishes airsoft guns, which shoot plastic pellets, from real ones.
Loehmann has only been on the force since March. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Loehmann reportedly told Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams that he is “broken up about this” and “didn’t want to do this but had to protect himself.”