Nearly 200 protesters took to the streets in Cleveland, Ohio, after the fatal weekend shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy.
The protesters chanted “No justice, no peace!” and waved signs that read “From Michael Brown to Tamir Rice, this must stop,” according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The protesters blocked traffic as they marched past City Hall towards state Route 2 and blocked the freeway. Inmates at the Cuyahoga County jail banged on their windows in support of the demonstrators as they passed by on their return from the freeway, the AP said. The police didn’t take any action against the protesters during their demonstration.
Rice was shot on Saturday afternoon at Cudell Commons park, outside the Cudell Recreation Center.
It’s not clear why the police dispatcher didn’t relay to the officers the crucial bit of information that came from the 911 caller complaining about Tamir scaring other kids with his gun: The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake.” The caller also said the person carrying it was “probably a juvenile.”
Toward the end of the 911 call, the caller added, “I don’t know if it’s real or not.”
But that information stopped at the dispatcher. Cleveland police officials say the two officers—who have not been identified—who responded to the scene told the boy to raise his hands, but instead Tamir reached for the black gun in his waistband. Perhaps his intent was to show them it was fake—but we’ll never know. Once he pulled it out, one of the officers opened fire, shooting twice, with one of the bullets hitting Tamir in the stomach. He died at MetroHealth Medical Center early Sunday morning.
In a news conference on Monday, police confirmed he was shot from a distance of less than 10 feet, according to International Business Times.
In a video recording of the shooting released earlier today, Rice is seen walking in the park when a police vehicle drives onto the grass less than 15 feet in front of him.
As Rice approaches the vehicle the officer on the passenger side begins to exit the vehicle and appears to fire the shot as Rice is lifting his shirt. Rice folds over as if he were shot in the mid-section and then falls to the ground. The shooting happened in an instant after the police arrived in the park.
The driving officer exits the vehicle after Rice is on the ground and sees Rice from the front of the car as his partner backs away towards the rear of the car, both guns drawn and still pointed at Rice.
“The system wasn’t made to protect us,” 17-year-old protester Naesha Pierce told the AP. “To get justice, the people themselves have to be justice.”
The protests in Cleveland occurred one night after the announcement of the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager.
At a public forum held yesterday 300 citizens filled the recreation center, near where the shooting took place, to capacity. In anger, many of the attendees criticized the police department and questioned what would happen to the officer who shot Rice, according to The Dealer.
Police Chief Calvin Williams said officers will be equipped with body cameras by the end of January.