Cleveland city officials released additional video footage this week that shows officers tackling the teenage sister of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old African-American boy who was fatally shot by police outside of a recreation center on Nov. 22.
The almost 30-minute surveillance video, which appears to depict the scene at the time of Rice’s death and the immediate events that followed, reveals two officers tackling the boy’s 14-year-old sister as she runs from the left side of the screen to see her brother. They then place her in the nearby police vehicle. A spokesman for the law firm representing the Rice family told msnbc on Thursday morning that additional information and confirmation will be “forthcoming.”
“This video shows in crystal-clear HD that the responding officers acted inappropriately and recklessly, both in how they handled the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the events that immediately followed,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement Thursday. “The family is outraged that rather than comfort a sister coming to the aid of her dying brother, the officers instead manhandled and tackled her, cuffed her and thoughtlessly tossed her in the back of a patrol car.”
The city refused to release the extended video for three weeks, arguing that it was part of an investigation, the Plain Dealer reported on Wednesday. Officials only agreed to do so after Northeast Ohio Media Group hired an attorney to obtain the footage captured by publicly owned and operated cameras.
“After consultation with the legal department and Cleveland police, the City of Cleveland is making available an extended view of the Cudell Recreation Center video,” officials wrote in a statement. Footage also shows additional vehicles and officers arriving and placing police tape around the area.
Rice was shot outside of the recreation center by a rookie officer who was responding with his partner, Officer Frank Garmback, to an emergency call reporting a person pointing a weapon. The child had a nonlethal pellet gun. The 911 caller told dispatchers the firearm he saw was “probably fake,” but the characterization reportedly wasn’t passed on to the two responding officers.
The incident was captured on surveillance video, previously released in November upon the family’s insistence. The footage shows rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann firing at Rice within two seconds of arriving on scene. An autopsy report revealed the child died from a single gunshot wound to the torso, which struck a major blood vessel in the boy’s abdomen, and injured his intestines and pelvis.
Details later emerged that Loehmann had been deemed unfit for duty in 2012 by a small suburban police department where he previously worked.
“It is painfully obvious,” Crump said on Thursday, “that these Cleveland Police Department officers lacked even the most basic elements of training.”
The boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, publicly has explained her version of the events that unfolded after police shot her son. When she arrived at the scene, she said, law enforcement officials “told me to calm down or they would put me in the back of a police car.” She added that they had tackled and handcuffed her 14-year-old daughter before placing her inside the cruiser, where she was screaming to see her mother. Rice’s 16-year-old son was across the walkway from the vehicle.
On Friday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson changed who holds jurisdiction over the Rice case. The Cleveland Police Department, which had been investigating with assistance from the state, handed over the case to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.
Jackson previously acknowledged that the Cleveland police force has issues, following the conclusion of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that found “reasonable cause” to believe the city’s police department routinely has used excessive force in past high-profile incidents.
The Rice family and its attorneys have demanded a trial by jury for Loehmann, instead of leaving the decision to the grand jury that is set to convene when an internal police review concludes by February.
Recent killings by officers have renewed a national conversation about community policing and law enforcement policies. Grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City recently decided not to indict two white officers in the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner.