Twenty-four days since her son Tamir Rice was shot and killed, Samaria Rice said she is still waiting for Cleveland Police to "knock on my door and tell me what happened."
Rice said she arrived at the scene outside the Cudell Recreation Center just minutes after her son was shot by a police officer. Tamir Rice was in possession of a toy gun at the time, and surveillance video shows Tamir being shot within one to two seconds of the police arriving.
Police told Samaria she could go in the ambulance to the hospital with her wounded 12-year-old son or go in the police car with her 14-year-old daughter who had been handcuffed and taken into custody. She chose to ride in the ambulance.
"I was in the passenger seat in the front of [the ambulance]. They wouldn't let me ride in the back; I don't know why," Rice told BuzzFeed News.
Rice spent the next 12 hours at the Cleveland hospital, remaining in the operating room until 3:30 in the morning on Nov 23. Her 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter were driven to the hospital by the police.
"[Tamir] was in critical condition. They had stabilized him, but they couldn't hold him," Rice said.
She found out from a doctor that her son had died around 1 a.m. on Nov. 23.
Rice told BuzzFeed News that two Cleveland Police officers spent the night in the hospital with the Rice family. They didn't interrogate the family, but they didn't offer any comfort either.
"They wasn't doing anything, I don't know why they were there," Rice said.
The last interaction Samaria Rice had with Cleveland Police was being silently monitored while they waited to learn Tamir's fate.
"Nobody has come to my door and told me anything yet," Rice told BuzzFeed News.
Cleveland Police have not said much about the investigation into Rice's death. The department has referred multiple requests for information to the City of Cleveland — including requests from BuzzFeed News to release the incident report and the statements from the officers involved in the shooting, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. Cleveland Police did not immediately respond to request to comment on this article.
The Cleveland public records officials acknowledged that an open records request from BuzzFeed News was received and is being processed.
BuzzFeed News filed an additional open records request with the City of Cleveland to release more video footage from Cudell Recreation Center from the day that Tamir Rice was shot.
The City of Cleveland told BuzzFeed News, "Your public record requests have been received by the Law Department and sent out for responsive documents, assuredly."
On Monday, Jeffrey Follmer, the president of the Cleveland police union, demanded an apology from Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins for wearing a shirt on the sideline before Sunday's game versus the Cincinnati Bengals that called for justice for Tamir Rice and another Ohio police shooting victim, John Crawford III.
"[The police] need to apologize to me before demanding apologies," Samaria Rice told BuzzFeed News in response to Follmer's remarks.
Rice's family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, Loehmann, and Garmback alleging excessive force, assault, and battery. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.
Asked if she has faith in the police investigation of her son's death, Rice said, "No, I don't. They murdered my son. How can I have faith in them?"
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mike Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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