Quantcast
Connect with us

Cleveland cop who killed Tamir Rice tells grand jury: I thought he was 18-year-old ‘active shooter’

Published

on

In his first public account of the shooting, Timothy Loehmann told grand jurors he thought he was facing an ‘active shooter situation’

By Oliver Laughland and Jon Swaine in New York

ADVERTISEMENT

The officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Ohio has delivered his first public account of the killing, over a year after the incident occurred, arguing his actions were justified as he was engaged in an “active shooter situation” and believed Tamir was 18 years old.

Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann told grand jurors he shot because Tamir pulled a gun – which turned out to be a pellet gun – from his waistband. “The suspect had a gun, had been threatening others with the weapon and had not obeyed our command to show us his hands,” he said.

Loehmann fatally shot Tamir, who was black, within two seconds of arriving at a local park on 22 November last year, after a 911 caller reported that there was a juvenile in the area with a weapon that was “probably fake”. The full details of the call were not passed on to the officers, according to other accounts released by Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury is currently considering whether to bring charges against Loehmann, 27, and his partner, 47-year-old Frank Garmback, both of whom are white. Garmback was the driver of the patrol car on the day of the shooting.

ADVERTISEMENT

The officers, who had previously declined to be interviewed by county investigators, provided written testimony that was released by prosecutors after being read to grand jurors on Tuesday.

Loehmann said he told Tamir to raise his hands repeatedly as the boy was “reaching into his waistband” before the officer opened fire and had exited his patrol cruiser because he had been trained that “the cruiser is a coffin”.

“I observed the suspect pulling the gun out of waistband and his elbow coming up,” Loehmann wrote in his submission, dated 30 Nov. 2015.

ADVERTISEMENT

He continued: “With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out … the threat to my partner and myself was real and active”.

Lawyers for the Rice family have repeatedly dismissed claims that Loehmann and Garmback could have given the 12-year-old sufficient warnings or commands, given the fraction of time that passed between the officers arriving on the scene and opening fire.

On Tuesday, Rice family lawyers described the prosecutor’s decision to allow the officer’s unsworn statements before the grand jury as “a stunning irregularity”.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No regular target of a criminal investigation would be afforded this opportunity,” the group said in a statement.

In Garmback’s statement, he concedes that the patrol car had slid along the ground and “did not stop where and when I intended”.

The steady release of evidence presented to the grand jury, including three expert testimonies that concluded the shooting was justified, has been staunchly criticised by Tamir’s parents and protesters in Cleveland, who argue that the drip feed of information is designed to prepare the public for a non-indictment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rice family lawyers have requested the grand jury also hear testimony from two experts who concluded the shooting was not justified.

Asked for a statement on the officers’ behalf, their attorney, Henry Hiler, said in an email on Tuesday: “We respect the grand jury process and have faith in our judicial system.”

The officers’ statements were read to the jurors a day after Tamir’s mother, Samaria, testified to the panel about the loss of her son. In a statement, her attorney said she had asked the jurors whether the officers’ actions “could possibly be ‘reasonable’ or ‘justifiable’”.

ADVERTISEMENT

“She believes that the answer is plainly no,” the statement said, “and hopes and prays that the grand jury agrees that there is probable cause to indict the officers and hold them accountable for her son’s death”.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s Labor Department wants to ‘weaponize’ right-wing discrimination and bigotry

Published

on

Just in case you wanted to believe that the Trump administration isn’t on a campaign to trample rights for Americans, here comes the Labor Department to shove a grapefruit in your face.

Labor officials have made public a new rule—no Congress, needed, thank you—to allow companies contracting with the federal government who are “religion-exercising organizations” to ignore federal laws protecting the rights of gays, transsexuals, and who knows who else in hiring or workplace practices. Religious employers and companies with “closely held” religious ties now will be shielded from claims of bias in court or other law enforcement actions, says the rule.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump warns media ‘treading in very dangerous territory’ for reporting bad poll numbers

Published

on

President Donald Trump hurled new warnings at the news media for reporting damaging stories and negative poll numbers.

The president's approval rating was measured at 43 percent by two new surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Fox News, and polls continue to show him losing to various Democratic challengers.

Trump insisted Monday that his "new internal polls" show the strongest support he's had so far, and also complained that unfair media coverage kept his approval ratings low -- and he retweeted those claims with a new threat against the media.

The LameStream Media is far beyond Fake News, they are treading in very dangerous territory! https://t.co/J60JgSFhcx

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump unleashes bizarre stream of gobbledygook when reporter asks him to describe his health care plan

Published

on

President Donald Trump has vowed multiple times over the past two-and-a-half years to unveil his own replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, but so far no actual plan has come to light.

As noted by CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, Trump was asked by a reporter in New Hampshire this week to describe his health care plan, and the president responded with a stream of gobbledygook.

"So, we have a great plan coming out," the president began when asked about his plan. "It's going to be -- if we can take back the House because we're not going to get the Democrats to vote for it, because they're doing Medicare for all, which is going to take away your freedom, take away your doctors, take away everything that you should be able to have, and most importantly, it's going to take away -- we have 180 million people right now that have private insurance and they love it, and all of that's going to be taken away. It's absolute craziness."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image