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article image12-year-old Tamir Rice shot in the gut by police over toy BB gun

By Malysa Stratton Louk     Nov 23, 2014 in Crime
Cleveland - Cleveland officers are on paid administrative leave after shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice in the abdomen, despite 911 reports that the gun was "probably a fake" and the boy was "probably a juvenile."
UPDATE: At the request of Tamir Rice's parents, police released video footage of the moments before Tamir Rice was shot by police officers. The video shows Rice playing with the gun and waving it around prior to the patrol car arriving.
Although there is no audio, police say the rookie cop, in the passenger seat, yelled out the window three times to put his hands up. As soon as the car comes to a stop, the cop is seen firing his gun as he exits the vehicle. The police officer training the rookie, the driver, exits the vehicle afterwards.
The incident occurred around Saturday 3:30 pm at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland. According to the police reports, officers asked Rice to raise his hands and, instead, he reached for his waist, which held a toy replica Airsoft pistol. According to reports, the toy gun was missing the orange band usually found on the barrel identifying it as a toy.
Two shots were fired and Rice was hit in the torso. Prior to the incident, the boy was reportedly in the park and kept taking the toy gun "in and out of his pants" and was "scaring the shit out of people," according to the original 911 recording, which can be heard in full.
The caller reported to 911 dispatchers that the gun was "probably a fake" and that the suspect was "sitting on swing" and "probably a juvenile." Before ending the call, he also stated that he could not be sure if the gun was real or fake.
According to witnesses at the scene, police arrived and found the suspect. Officers reportedly watched the boy pick up the gun from a nearby table and put it in his waistband. They asked him to raise his hands several times, which Rice did not do. When Rice reached for his waist, shots were fired.
Witnesses and Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ed Tomba say that the boy was not threatening the officers verbally, nor did he raise the toy gun as a threat to officers.
In another statement Tomba said:
"When an officer gives a command, we expect it to be followed. The way it looks like right now, it wasn't followed, but we're going to continue our investigation."
Tamir Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, says they live across the street from the recreation center and that she does not know where her son would have gotten hold of a gun. She heard about the shooting from two young men who came to her door and told her what happened.
Tamir Rice was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery but remained in critical condition. MetroHealth Medical Center confirmed Sunday that Tamir Rice died in the hospital as a result of his injuries.
The two officers involved, reportedly a rookie cop and a 10-15 year veteran, are both on paid administrative leave and will receive full pay and benefits during the investigation. Samaria Rice says she does not understand why her son was shot and has obtained an attorney.
Do you think the officer's action were justified given the realistic look of the toy replica, Rice's actions of taking the gun in and out of his waistband and not putting his hands up when asked? Or is this another case of "trigger happy" cops over-reacting when there is no real threat?
More about tamir rice, bb gun, Police shooting, Cleveland, Child shot
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