The distraught older sister of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was tackled, handcuffed and held in the back of a police car in plain view of her grievously wounded brother, their mother claimed today.
Speaking for the first time since she buried her son, Samaria Rice also demanded indictments, trials and convictions for officers, Frank Garmback, 46 and Tim Loehmann, 26, who shot her son dead on November 22 in a Cleveland, Ohio park.
Speaking to ABC News, Samaria said that when she arrived at the park in a frantic state she saw her 14-year-old daughter languishing in the back of the same squad car that the officers arrived at the park in before the shot the boy dead.
Anger: Samaria Rice described the moments after she arrived at the Cleveland, Ohio park where her son Tamir was shot dead last month
‘I couldn’t believe they tackled her and put her in handcuffs and in the back of the same police car that was on the grass that the officer got out of and shot her brother so my daughter is sitting there looking at her brother on the ground,’ Rice said this morning.
Having already filed a wrongful death suit, Samaria has said she wants both the officers to be held accountable for what they have done.
‘I’m looking for a conviction for both of the officers,’ she said to ABC News.
Her attorney is Benjamine Crump, who represented the parents of Michael Brown in Ferguson has said that the blame lies with the police.
Tamir Rice, 12, was shot dead by cops in Cleveland on November 22 while carrying a pellet gun
‘If the Cleveland police is unequipped to deal with children playing with toys and toy guns, then we need to outlaw toy guns in Cleveland so we have no more children getting killed,’ said Crump.
‘You can’t kill children playing at the playground with toy guns a few yards from their house,’ he added. ‘It’s unimaginable and we have to address this very seriously.’
The family filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against the city and the two officers who they claim 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.
Heartbroken: Samaria Rice, center, leaves the funeral services of her son Tamir Rice in Cleveland on Wednesday, 10 days after he was shot by a police officer who thought he was carrying a real gun
Tragic: Pallbearers carry out the 12-year-old boy’s casket from Gaines Funeral Home on Wednesday
‘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.’
Loved: A mourner hold a program showing the boy, who was shot dead by the officer on November 22
Support: Tamir’s uncle, Michael Petty, left, embraces pastor Jay Matthews as pastor Henry Curie (R) looks on during the funeral. Petty called on the congregation to give Tamir a voice through peaceful protests
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.
Final moments: In footage released by the Cleveland Police Department, a police car pulls up alongside the boy. But rather than raise his hands, his reaches for his belt line, they claim. He was then shot
The rallies came a day after a grand jury announced they would not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for shooting dead Michael Brown, another black, unarmed youth.
Loehmann had only joined the Cleveland police in March after spending six months in 2012 with the police department in suburban Independence.
Personnel files released on Wednesday that showed police supervisors in Independence decided he lacked the maturity needed to work in their department.
A letter in his file said there was a pattern of a lack of indiscretion and of not following instructions.
‘In law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed,’ the letter said.
Loehmann resigned from the Independence police department in December 2012 after meeting his supervisors about their concerns.
A grand jury will now consider whether charges are merited.
Sadness: After the 12-year-old’s death – and in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Michael Brown’s killer in Ferguson – protesters took to the streets in Cleveland to call for change
Shooter: Rookie officer Tim Loehmann, (pictured far left), was put on leave after the shooting. It has since emerged that he previously left another police department after his seniors said he lacked maturity
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