A grand jury is expected to decide whether or not to indict a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy at a playground over the weekend, officials told reporters on Monday.
Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Ohio police for allegedly carrying what officials later confirmed was an “airsoft” replica toy gun outside of the Cudell Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon, Cleveland Division of Police said over the weekend. The child was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died Sunday around 2:30 a.m.
The shooting was captured on surveillance video, but authorities speaking at a news conference on Monday said they didn’t know when the footage will be released to the public. Police said they invited the Rice family to view evidence from the video, but the boy’s relatives declined. Instead, their representatives reviewed the evidence and will reconvene with the family.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters that all evidence, including the video, will be handed over to the grand jury once an ongoing investigation is complete.
NBC News obtained a copy of the 911 call to emergency dispatchers on Saturday. A person allegedly sitting inside the park reported seeing “a guy in here with a pistol,” according to audio files of the correspondence. He continued, saying the person kept pulling the gun in and out of his pants. “It’s probably fake. But you know what? It’s scaring the shit out of people,” the caller said.
The individual described the suspect as a black male wearing a camouflage hat, gray pants, and a gray coat with black sleeves. The caller also said the person was sitting on a swing and “probably a juvenile.”
Two Cleveland officers responded to the call, according to a press release. Police arrived and ordered the suspect to raise his hands. When the 12-year-old reportedly didn’t comply and reached into his waistband for the gun, the release continues, officers fired shots that struck the boy in the torso.
The child’s gun was “indistinguishable from a real firearm,” Williams said on Monday.
“A tragedy like this affects our entire community. Our officers at times are required to make critical decisions in a split second. Unfortunately, this is one of those times,” he added. “From this tragedy, we can gain knowledge and we can proactively and diligently teach our children and the community about the dangers of weapons, mainly handguns, whether they be real or fake.”
Both officers were placed on administrative leave, which is protocol after a police-involved shooting. Authorities said they spoke briefly with the officer responsible for the incident. They declined to release his identity.
“He is very distraught over what took place, and we want to support him and give him his space,” Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said Monday.
Reporters questioned the preparedness of the city and referenced the ongoing controversy over the police shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said that incident had no bearing on the Ohio shooting, and that city officials “always prepare for whatever comes.”