Group derides behavior in video of police shooting aftermath

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2015 10:17 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A civil rights group says footage from a surveillance video that shows the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun and the rough treatment of his teenage sister is evidence that Cleveland police officers fail to protect and serve citizens.

The surveillance video, released by the city Thursday, shows an officer shooting Tamir Rice and then another officer shoving the boy's 14-year-old sister to the ground when she runs toward the scene. The shooting occurred Nov. 22 outside a recreation center after the officers were answering a call about a man in the park with a gun. The video also shows officers handcuffing the struggling girl and putting her in a patrol car parked next to her brother.

The video begins with rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann shooting the boy within 2 seconds of Officer Frank Garmback stopping their patrol car. Police officials have said Loehmann ordered the boy three times to put his hands in the air, and a police union official has said the officers thought the gun was real.

Shakyra Diaz, a policy manager for the ACLU of Ohio, said Friday that the video is "telling" and shows why there's distrust between the community and police.

"These officers were quick to shoot at a 12-year-old boy, quick to tackle and handcuff his 14-year old-sister, but never considered performing CPR on the boy they just shot," Diaz said. "We need them to show some restraint and remember they took an oath to protect and serve, not shoot and disregard."

An FBI agent arrived about four minutes after the shooting and began administering first aid, the video shows. Paramedics arrived about four minutes later.

Diaz said the boy's sister, whose name has not been released, reacted appropriately.

Dan Williams, a spokesman for the city, agreed.

"I don't know anybody who's going through a situation like that who wouldn't be beside themselves," Williams said Friday.

Williams wouldn't comment on the shooting but said providing first-aid training to police is "something we definitely need to take a look at."

Northeast Ohio Media Group first reported on the video Wednesday. Another video from the same surveillance camera shows Tamir holding and pointing the airsoft-type gun and ends with his shooting. It was released by the city days after the shooting.

An investigation into the shooting has been transferred from the police to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department. Mayor Frank Jackson has said he no longer trusts the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the use of deadly force by Cleveland police.

The mayor has been at odds with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine since Dewine's comment last year that the police department suffered a "systemic failure" after a bureau investigation into the fatal shooting of two unarmed civilians. The sheriff's department has asked for forensic help from the bureau.

The U.S. Department of Justice last month released its findings that Cleveland police officers have a pattern and practice of using excessive force and violating people's civil rights.