Tamir Rice: Cleveland police say video of them shooting 12-year-old playing with fake gun 'will show officer acted reasonably'

CCTV images of the incident to be released after protests across America

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The Independent US

US police have promised to release video footage showing the shooting of a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun.

Tamir Rice was killed by an officer in Cleveland while playing with the toy, an “airsoft” or BB pistol, in a playground. Police said they responded to reports of someone “waving a gun” – though the 911 caller reportedly twice told a dispatcher he believed “it might be a fake”.

The surveillance footage, taken from a CCTV camera near where the shooting happened at the Cudell Recreation Center, has already been shown to lawyers for Tamir, and police initially said they would not be making it public out of respect to the family.

But last night officers changed their minds, after combined outrage over the killing and the Michael Brown shooting verdict in Ferguson, Missouri prompted protests which temporarily blocked rush-hour traffic on a busy motorway.

Police have said the footage, to be released on Wednesday, shows Tamir reaching for what appeared to be a real handgun after he was told to raise his hands. They say it was only later determined that the gun was fake and shoots tiny plastic pellets.

Officials said the video is evidence in an ongoing investigation into the shooting on Saturday, and as such refused to comment on further details.

Cleveland-based NewsChannel 5 quoted sources close to the police probe as saying it is “low resolution” and “highly compressed”. It also plays at just two frames per second – meaning it comes across as a “more jerking” series of images rather than a continuous video.

Nonetheless, the broadcaster said police are confident the video will show the officer “acted reasonably” in shooting Tamir.

Meanwhile, protests spread across the whole of the US last night in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

A further 44 people were arrested in Ferguson itself, while demonstrations were staged in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Washington.