Investigators from the sheriff's department have received signed statements from Cleveland Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback as part of their investigation into the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir on Nov. 22, 2014.
Loehmann and Garmback both said they believed Tamir was at least 18 years old when they spotted him sitting under a Gazebo at the Cudell Rec Center and that he possessed a real hand gun.
Loehmann said in his statement, "I saw the suspect pick up on object and stick it down into his waistband and he stood up."
Both officers said they asked Tamir to show his hands with Loehmann mentioning it seven times in his written statement.
Loehmann said he kept his eyes on Tamir the entire time saying, "I was trained to keep my eyes on his hands because hands may kill."
He said Tamir lifted his shirt, reached down into his waistband. "Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn't fire."
Loehmann stated that with Tamir's hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up "I knew it was a gun."
Loehmann says he fired two shots, firing toward the gun in his hand.
Garmback only mentions the shots fired in his final sentence. "I saw the gun loose on the ground, a few feet from the male after he was shot.
Statement from Officer Loehmann:
Statement from Officer Garmback:
The statements have been turned over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.
"The investigation is continuing and ultimately the Grand Jury will make its decision based on all the evidence," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra released the following statement after the release of the officers' statements:
For the prosecutor to allow police officers who are supposed to be targets of a criminal investigation to submit unsworn statements in response to grand-jury subpoenas requiring live testimony is yet again a stunning irregularity that further taints these proceedings. No ordinary citizen who is under investigation would be afforded this special treatment.
The officers' statements do not establish that their conduct in shooting Tamir Rice was reasonable. Submitting self-serving, unsworn written statements—rather than appearing live before the grand jury so that the officers' versions of events are subject to vigorous cross examination—shows that these officers know their story will not withstand real scrutiny. The officers' statements are inconsistent with one another and the objective video footage contradicts the officers' claims. Loehmann, for example insists that he observed things and took action that would have been physically impossible for any human being to do in the under 2 seconds it took him to shoot a 12-year-old child. While Loehmann claims to have issued at least three commands in under two seconds, Garmback admits the windows to the police vehicle were up, demonstrating that his partner's claims are false.
And of course, neither officer explains why they left a 12-year-old boy bleeding and dying on the ground after shooting him.
The Rice family hopes that the grand jury will see through this and seek justice for Tamir with an indictment.
Joseph Frolik with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office responded to that statement:
"These plaintiffs lawyers have no idea what went on behind the closed doors of the grand jury. No witnesses, including these police officers, were permitted to give unsworn statements to the grand jury."
Tamir Rice was shot outside of Cleveland's Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014.
Cleveland police officers were called to the scene for a report of a male waving a gun. When two officers responded, within several seconds Officer Loehmann fired his department-issued service weapon, fatally wounding Tamir.
Surveillance video provided by the city of Cleveland shows Tamir appearing to reach under his top for what ended up being an air soft BB gun.
Officers Loehmann and Garmback have since been placed on transitional duty.
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