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Father of 12 year-old who had BB gun killed by police speaks out

November 24, 2014  |  Posted by: JammedUp
Father of 12 year-old who had BB gun killed by police speaks out

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Anonymous lashes out at Cleveland police

The grieving father of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot dead by police when he allegedly pulled out a BB gun from his waistband has blasted the officers for their actions.

Tamir Rice,  died from his injuries in a Cleveland hospital on Sunday, his father Gregory Henderson, said the youngster had his whole life ahead of him when he was gunned down outside Cudell Recreation Center.

As tears rolled down the grief stricken father’s face he said: “Who would’ve thought he would go so soon? He had his whole life ahead. To be 12 years old, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Police, they know what they’re doing.”

He said the family is still shocked at the death of his “superhero”,. He described the boy as an avid basketball player who was tall for his size, polite and ‘very artistic’.

‘I’m trying not to cry about the situation but the situation hurts,’ he told WKYC.com, adding that he wished police had Tasered his son instead of immediately shooting him.

Tamir, who was formally identified by officials on Sunday afternoon, was spotted ‘waving around’ the airsoft gun at a playground next to the Ohio recreation center at 3.30pm last Saturday.

A concerned man, who was sitting nearby, called 911 and told the dispatcher: ‘I’m sitting in the park…there’s a guy here with a pistol, and it’s probably a fake one, but he’s pointing it at everybody.

The guy keeps pulling it in and out…it’s probably fake, but he’s scaring the s*** out of people.’

Minutes later, two Cleveland Police officers – a rookie and a 10-15 year veteran – arrived at the scene, where they apparently saw Tamir pick up the gun from a table and put it in his waistband.

The rookie then asked the boy to put his hands up, at which point the youngster reached into his waistband and pulled out the pistol, Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeffrey Follmer said.

Despite the 911 caller’s prior warning that the gun was likely fake, the officer then fired two shots at Tamir, at least one of which hit him in the stomach, according to Cleveland.com.

Following the shooting, the boy was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition, but his condition deteriorated throughout the night and he died on Sunday morning.

Police later told Fox 8 the weapon Tamir was carrying was ‘an airsoft type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol.’ They added that the gun’s orange safety indicator had been removed.

He had his whole life ahead. To be 12 years old, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Police, they know what they’re doing

Gregory Henderson, Tamir’s father

Union officials claimed the officers – one of whom was later taken to hospital with an ankle injury – acted responsibly amid concerns the boy was in possession of a real gun.

However, Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ed Tomba described the incident as ‘very, very tragic’, saying that the child did not threaten the officer verbally or physically.

‘When an officer gives a command, we expect it to be followed,’ Mr Tomba said. ‘The way it looks like right now, it wasn’t followed, but we’re going to continue our investigation.’

On Sunday, Tamir’s family and friends – some of whom had been holding a vigil at the hospital for the youngster – were spotted bringing posters, candles and teddy bears to the area.

‘I went to church today and I said a prayer for him and, as soon as I come home, he’s dead,’ said Kerby Williams, who lives near the scene of the shooting.

Members of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office were also spotted outside the recreation center. Investigators will determine if the officer was justified in shooting the boy.

Tamir was named by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office on Sunday afternoon as the boy’s family hired attorney Tim Kucharski to represent them in the upcoming investigation.

Mr Kucharski, of Richardson & Kurcharski, told WKYC an ‘innocent boy was shot and killed’, saying: ‘Apparently, listening to the 911 call…the caller… recognized that this was a toy gun.

‘I’m not sure how police weren’t able to make that same decision. We’re going to conduct our own parallel investigation’

He added: I understand what police are putting out there, I cannot confirm or deny those facts. The family is absolutely is devastated. He was a wonderful young man.’

On Sunday, Donnie Pastard, an activist with the anti-crime group Black on Black, said: ‘I do not think these police officers left home to kill a black child. But I do think there’s training involved there.’

There’s the race factor involved. This is something we gonna have to talk about, whether we like it or not,’ Mr Pastard told Action News 19.

But a 14-year-old who was outside the recreation center when the shooting occurred said he understood why police shot Tamir, saying: ‘It could have been prevented by him going home.’

Mr Kucharski added: ‘This is not a black and white issue. This is a right and wrong issue. This is not a racial issue. This is about people doing their jobs the right way.’

According to Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, the family lives across the street from the center.

She told the news station the first she heard of the shooting was when two men came to her home to say her son had been shot. She added that Tamir did not have access to a gun at the property.

Both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave in accordance with protocol in officer-involved shooting incidents.

Ohio lawmakers have reportedly acted following Tamir’s shooting, with Rep Alicia Reece, of Cincinnati, announcing new legislation on BB and airsoft guns.

Under the new rules, all such weapons sold in Ohio would have to be brightly colored or feature prominent florescent strips so they could not be confused with real firearms.

Current federal law states all toy and replica guns must have an orange tip on the barrel.

An investigation is ongoing.

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