Tamir Rice

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism.]

A week ago Saturday, a 12-year-old black boy named Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland police outside a city rec center. Early reports described the shooting thus:
Officers responded to the center for a report of a "male threatening people with a gun," police said. The officers were never told the caller who reported the gun said the gun may be fake, and the person pointing it at people may have been a juvenile, police said.

The officers saw the boy put the gun in his waistband, according to police. When the officers told him to put his hands in the air, he reached into his waistband and pulled it out, police said. Officers fired two shots, at least one of which hit him in the stomach.
Also relevant: Ohio is an open carry state, underlining once again that "open carry" is only for white people.

Witnesses to the shooting, including a social worker, publicly contested the police account, which then quickly started to change: "Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said one officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon—which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle—from his waistband but had not pointed it at police. The boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Tomba said."

And then video of the incident was made public, clearly showing that even the altered police account is complete bullshit:
The account Cleveland police gave of the shooting by a rookie police officer does not seem to match what the video reveals.

The police said two officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, went to the park and saw Tamir take what they thought was a pistol from a table under a gazebo in the park and stuff it in his waistband. Police said that the boy was sitting with a group at the time.

Police also said that the officers told Tamir three times to raise his hands, and that when he reached for what they thought was a real pistol, he was shot.

The video, however, shows officers in a cruiser pull up within several feet of Rice, who was not with a group, but by himself underneath a gazebo. Immediately, even before the car stops rolling, the cruiser's passenger side door opens, an officer emerges and fires at Tamir, who drops to the ground.

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said the officers ordered Tamir to "show your hands" three times from the ajar passenger door, but it's hard to believe that's possible based on the video.

The shot that struck Tamir appears to have been fired the very moment the officer stands up after getting out of the car.
Further, after shooting a child, police failed "to immediately give first aid to the fallen boy. It wasn't until an FBI agent who happened to be in the area arrived four minutes later that Tamir was given any such attention."

They waited two seconds to shoot him, and four minutes to give him first aid.

This is a pattern: Police shoot an unarmed black person; police give bullshit account of shooting; witnesses contradict police account; police account changes; video shows they are lying. And then the discrediting of the victim begins.

Rice was only 12 years old; he hadn't even been allowed to live enough life to rummage through, cherry-picking details of his alleged thuggery in order to victim-blame him. So, instead, the Northeast Ohio Media Group published a story about Rice's father's history of domestic violence. (Link goes to piece critical of the decision to publish the story; not the original story itself.) The NEOMG then defended its decision to publish this irrelevant, demonizing swill with an editorial that said, in part:
One way to stop police from killing any more 12-year-olds might be to understand the forces that lead children to undertake behavior that could put them in the sights of police guns.

So our reporters at NEOMG have been looking into Tamir's background, to see if he lived a life exposed to violence that could explain why it might be normal for him to randomly aim what looks like a real gun in a public place.
Sure. They published information about his father's history of domestic violence because they care so fucking much about black children's lives.

Which is to say nothing of their absurd contention that only children exposed to violence play with toy guns. And all children who play with toy guns are definitely viewed as "undertaking behavior that could put them in the sights of police guns."

The reality is this: White children can openly carry real weapons in public without the threat of police violence. But a black child in a park playing with a toy gun in an open carry state is dead.

That isn't about anything Tamir Rice and/or his family did or didn't do. That's about white supremacy and a deeply entrenched history of state-sanctioned violence against black bodies.

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