Cleveland Boy Shot and Killed By Police
Officer Timothy Loehmann of the Cleveland Police Department was the center of yet another police brutality controversy this past November. The victim was 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was seen playing with a pellet gun outside a local recreation center.
According to CNN.com, A concerned bystander in the area placed a 911 call to report “a guy with a pistol” that was “probably” fake. However, the caller did seem to express concern as she told the dispatcher that the victim was “taunting it at everybody.”
Shortly after, officers were on the scene. Loehmann and Officer Frank Garmback pulled their car directly next to where Tamir was standing. Within two seconds of getting out of the car, and allegedly without any sort of confrontation or warning, Loehmann fired the fatal shots. Tamir died the next day of his injuries. Full surveillance footage can be seen here.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the victim’s family. The Cleveland Police Department, however, responded by blaming the child for his death. The city of Cleveland released a statement which said that injuries “were directly and proximately caused by the failure of Plaintiff’s decedent to exercise due care to avoid injury.”
It seems that just within the past year, police’s brutality has become a major controversy that is sweeping the nation. Every other week, there are more and more violent headlines appearing on the news involving police. With every story, there is an alarmingly consistent part of the story— very few officers facing charges.
Now, it is not fair or accurate to place all blame in police brutality incidents on the officers on duty. There are thousands of police officers on the line of duty every day serving to protect us. Regardless, I feel that there have been multiple incidents of blatant police brutality that were not handled properly, including the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
After reading up on details of the case of Tamir Rice, something seems to not add up as to why Loehmann was not charged or has not taken any responsibility for what had happened. It seems as though the officer’s actions were based only off of the 911 call that was placed. Understandably, when a call like that is placed officers should be prepared for anything to happen when they arrive on the scene. But when shots are fired within TWO SECONDS of the officers arriving on the scene, it is clear they did not give Tamir a chance to explain himself or drop his “weapon.”
What really shocks me is the amount of solid evidence against officers in incidences of misconduct, yet they walk without facing any charges. This misconduct, similar to the controversial case of 43-year-old Eric Garner who was killed by an NYPD officer last July, was caught on tape, which seemed to make no difference in the case. In the video of Garner’s death taken by a bystander, he was seen being placed in a chokehold by an officer as he screamed “I can’t breathe” for an astonishing 11 times as officers continue to hold him against the ground.
It is hard for me, along with many Americans, to feel hopeful that police misconduct cases can be prevented or at the very least properly handled. It was mentioned by the White House that officers may begin to wear small cameras on their uniforms in an attempt to prevent cases of misconduct, providing them with hard evidence of what really unfolds at the scene of any crime. That idea was never acted upon, and honestly I don’t see why it would be. When we sit here and watch video evidence of officers taking lives of Americans with little to no reason to do so and they continue to be protected against charges, it is clear that a camera uniform would really make no difference. This leaves people wondering, myself included, what could possibly be done to prevent future situations like this.
As I mentioned before, it is important to keep in mind the number of brave and selfless individuals risking their lives to protect our safety on a daily basis. The amount of cases of police brutality to the stories of bravery and courage is incomparable. However, something needs to be done to prevent further instances of brutality because one life taken is one too many.