(Warning: The video above contains disturbing images.)
Newly released footage of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November shows Cleveland police officers delaying first aid to Rice while he was still alive and tackling and handcuffing Rice’s sister as she attempted to reach her wounded brother.
An extended surveillance video from the Cudell Recreation Center, which captured the incident, was obtained by the Northeast Ohio Media Group on Wednesday after city officials initially refused to release it. Other outlets received the video on Thursday.
The footage shows Rice’s 14-year-old sister, Tajai, attempting to run to her brother’s aid as he lay bleeding in the snow, only to be intercepted by two officers—including Timothy Loehmann, who shot Tamir—who pin her down on the ground, handcuff her, and place her in the backseat of their cruiser.
Loehmann and the other officer, Frank Garmback, are also shown refusing to administer aid to Rice for several minutes after the shooting. Neither moves to help the boy until a third man, identified by police as an FBI agent who was in the area, enters the frame and seems to attend to Rice for the first time in the four minutes that have passed. Paramedics arrive eight minutes after the shooting.
Walter Madison, an attorney representing the Rice family, called the video “shocking and outrageous.”
“This has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen,” Madison said. He added that the officers displayed “overwhelming indifference” to Rice.
“No one thinks that it’s appropriate to try to save him,” Madison said. “The first person who does is not affiliated with the Cleveland police department. This is the level of service that makes people very upset and distrustful of law enforcement.”
Loehmann shot Rice within seconds of pulling up in front of the boy as he played with a toy gun in a city park on November 22. Rice died hours later. The video confirms statements previously made by Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, who said at a December 8 press conference that her daughter was handcuffed and detained while trying to help Tamir, and that officers refused to help him while he was still alive. Tajai Rice also made similar statements on NBC’s Today show in December, telling host Lester Holt, “I ran to the gazebo, and I couldn’t get there all the way to him, because the officer attacked me, threw me on the ground, tackled me on the ground, put me in handcuffs, and put me in the back of the police car, right next to his body.”
Loehmann was hired by the Cleveland police department after failing a written test to become a deputy with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s department, as well as forces in Akron, Euclid, and Parma Heights, records show. His action in the video “really explains why,” Madison said. “This is not the professional standard we would expect or deserve, and the city of Cleveland put him in the position to allow this to happen.”
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