Tamir Rice: A bright young student killed while playing with toy gun

Justin Carissimo
Monday 28 December 2015 22:17
Protesters gather in Cleveland, Ohio on December 1, 2014.
Protesters gather in Cleveland, Ohio on December 1, 2014.

A grand jury declined to bring charges against the white police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old black boy in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tamir Rice was playing with a toy airsoft gun when he was gunned down by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014. More than 400 days later, Cuyahoga County prosecutors announced no charges would be filed against the officers involved.

A bright student who was constantly on the move

Rice was a student who did well in math and wanted to answer every question in class.

“Tamir was in my special-needs classroom, but, unlike most of my students, Tamir did not have a learning disability. He did well in math on the days that he chose to participate. On some days he wanted to answer every question and would become frustrated if he was not allowed to do so,” Diane Ferri wrote in an essay for Cleveland Scene.

“He was placed in my room, in part, for the extra attention that he craved, for the attention he could not get in a larger classroom and, on certain days, could not do without.”

Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters

Ms Ferri said that to her, Rice would never be an news item or talking point, but a child who she spent “many heartfelt hours” and “much energy” helping him become successful in school.

CCTV of Tamir Rice shooting

“He was an unforgettable student I taught and cared for during a brief period in time. He was a kid who struggled with being moved from school to school," she writes.

"He was a child who needed a significant amount of attention. Like many inner city children, Rice had probably seen and experienced more than his 12-year-old brain could process."

A troubled department in a struggling city

The youngster was just one of 10 people who have been killed by Cleveland police since 2012. All 10 victims were black and seven of the were unarmed, according to Mapping Police Violence.

The Cleveland Police Department was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice that found "systemic deficiencies" and "excessive use of force." The DOJ recently reached an agreement that would equip all Cleveland officers with body cameras after the damning report was released.

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