Ever since Tamir Rice died last year, Cleveland police have maintained their position that the shooting of the 12-year-old was justified because he appeared to be waiving a gun. Now, a new report concludes that Rice most likely had his hands in his pockets at the time he was gunned down by a cop while playing with his little sister outside a local recreation facility.
What's more, the report states that officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice, likely did so within one second of exiting his squad car, allowing no time for a "meaningful exchange" between him and the little boy. In other words, Rice probably didn't hear, and certainly didn't have any time to respond to Loehmann's orders before he was killed.
The new report, provided by an attorney for Rice's family, and two others from experts, are the latest analysis of evidence to be released as a grand jury considers whether to bring charges against the officers in Tamir's death.
Previous reports concluded that Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of opening his car door. The new analysis determined it happened even faster, within less than a second, according to the review by California-based shooting reconstruction expert Jesse Wobrock. With the patrol car windows rolled up, Tamir could not have heard commands to show his hands, Wobrock added.
"The scientific analysis and timing involved do not support any claim that there was a meaningful exchange between Officer Loehmann and Tamir Rice, before he was shot," Wobrock said.
Despite the compelling new evidence, it's not clear if Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty will allow it into the grand jury testimony. McGinty has been criticized repeatedly for how long the investigation has taken. He previously made public reports by three experts saying Loehmann was justified in shooting Rice, and even released statements by Loehmann and his training officer, who was driving the squad car on the day of the shooting — a move Rice's attorneys say forfeits their Fifth Amendment rights and opens them up to cross examination.
As for the new testimony and reports obtained by Rice's family, all McGinty would say is, "we welcome and will review all credible relevant evidence from any source."
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