After an autopsy was performed on 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the child’s death a homicide.
The autopsy stated that the cause of death was a “gunshot wound of the torso with injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis.”
CNN reports that a homicide ruling does not necessarily constitute any determination that the shooting was a crime.
In video shared widely across the internet, two police officers were witnessed rushing to the scene where Tamir was sitting at a gazebo at a community center after having played with a toy gun. An adult at the park called 911 to report that a boy was playing with a gun and pointing it at people, but added twice that the gun was ?probably a fake.? This information was not shared with police by 911 dispatchers.
Officer Timothy Loehmann responded to the scene along with his partner, Officer Frank Garmback. In the video, the officers can be seen driving quickly up to the scene, exiting the police vehicle, and Loehmann is determined to have shot Tamir Rice within less than two seconds of his arrival at the community center. Both officers have been suspended with pay, but it is prior performance evaluations that deepen questions about the officer’s actions.
According to Chief Jim Polack, deputy chief of the Independent Police Department, Loehman struggled to complete firearms training in 2012. Polack wrote in a memo that Loehman ?could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal.? Polack recommended that the Independent Police Department not hire Loehmann when he wrote that ?in law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed.? A spokesman for the Cleveland Police Department, who did hire Loehman, report that they did not review this part of Loehman’s file before hiring him.
Another sergeant wrote in Loehman’s file after finding his weapon unsecured in an unlocked locker overnight after instructing Loehman to secure it that ?It appears from the pattern developing within our short time frame with Ptl. Loehmann that he often feels that when told to do something, that those instructions are optional, and that he can manipulate them if he so feels it can better serve him,? the letter reads. ?I do not say he is doing this for some benefit, or in an insubordinate way, but he just appears to have the mind set that if he thinks he knows better, than that is the course he follows.?
Rice’s mother, maintains that neither she nor Rice’s father bought the toy gun, or any toy gun, for their son, but that a friend gave it to him. Tamir’s parents have filed a wrongful death suit against the Cleveland Police Department and protests of police brutality toward young, black men continue across the country.