Family Of Tamir Rice Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Cleveland Police
The wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court alleges the police officers used excessive force when they responded to a 911 call of a juvenile with “probably fake" gun.
The family of a 12-year-old black boy who was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit Friday, alleging excessive force, assault and battery.
Tamir Rice was shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann who was responding to a call of a juvenile pointing a gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22. The caller had told dispatchers the gun is "probably fake, but it's scaring the shit out of me."
Surveillance footage from the park shows Loehmann, who is white, shooting Tamir just seconds after confronting him.
Investigators later determined that Tamir was holding a toy pellet gun.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names Loehmann's 46-year-old partner, Officer Frank Garmback, who was driving the police cruiser.
Tamir's family claims that the two officers had the opportunity to initiate a safe encounter from a distance, but chose to pull their cruiser right up to Tamir.
The officers "had ample opportunity to safely provide clear, unhurried commands to the startled young boy," the complaint said, "but instead rapidly confronted him with their cruiser and their guns and shot him all within two seconds."
Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said Loehmann shot Rice "1 ½ to 2 seconds" after arriving at the scene.
According to Tomba, Loehmann wrote in his incident report that he ordered Rice three times to show his hands by yelling the command out the open door of the police car as approached the recreation center's gazebo.
After the shooting incident, it was revealed that Loehmann was almost fired from his job as a patrolman in Independence, Ohio, according to records obtained by BuzzFeed News. His superiors there had described him emotionally unstable and unable to properly use a firearm.
The lawsuit filed by Tamir's estate also alleges that Cleveland Police's policies and custom of using excessive force on black citizens was the moving force behind Rice's death.
The lawsuit comes one day after the U.S. Department of Justice announced the results of a more than yearlong investigation into the Cleveland Division of Police. Including in its findings was that the officers engaged in a pattern of bad behavior that included excessive force and violations of citizens' Fourth Amendment rights.
The lawsuit also alleges that four minutes passed without any medical care being provided to Tamir as he lay on the ground. He went into surgery later that night and died Nov. 23.