CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It is previously unseen animation of the officers' approach to the Cudell Rec Center on November 22, 2014, the day 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed.
"I think it goes a long way into understanding how they came to a sliding halt, just feet from Tamir Rice," said Assistant County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer.
Meyer was the chief prosecutor presenting evidence to the grand jury that decided not to indict police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback in Rice's death.
Meyer believes that the animation along with what the officers were told goes a long way in showing they had a reasonable expectation that they were responding to a life threatening event. A belief that would justify the shooting.
The video was taken using a laser scan of the scene at the Cudell Recreation Center. Meyer explained in detail why the Prosecutor's Office believes the actions of officers Loehmann and Garmback were justified. It began with a call from dispatch telling them a man with a gun was threatening people.
"The dispatcher told these officers that they could expect to find the suspect here at the swing set," Meyer added.
By the time the officers arrived there was no one at the swing set. The animation shows how they likely had their eyes trained to the right toward the swing set. Seeing nothing, they continued north and in the gazebo saw a person matching the description they had of the gunman.
The scan was a strong part of the argument as were other conditions that might have prompted officers to remove a threat to the public. The gym
inside had dozens of kids playing basketball. Other children and adults were shown on security cameras at locations on all sides of the center. Many could have been harmed if Tamir had a real gun. As we know now he didn't, but officers Loehmann and Garmback didn't know at the time.
Meyer says the officers were doing what they were supposed to.
"To enter quickly and confront what he thought was a gunman would be exactly what we would expect an officer to do had this been an actual active shooter incident. We would expect officers to risk their lives to confront a gunman threatening innocent people at a rec center. The approach to the center we are told was within the Cleveland Police Department standards as were their tactics," Meyer said.
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