On this dayNov 23, 2014

Twelve-Year-Old Tamir Rice Dies of Injuries After Being Shot by Police

Image | Ty Wright for The New York Times

On November 23, 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy, died from injuries inflicted when he was shot by a white police officer the day before. Tamir was playing in a park near his Cleveland, Ohio, home when a police car approached him; within seconds, before Tamir could be questioned or warned, Officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir in the stomach.

The officers were responding to a 911 dispatch in which a caller had reported that someone in the park was playing with a gun. The caller also explained to the dispatcher that the person was “probably a juvenile” and the gun was “probably fake.” Tamir was, in fact, playing with a toy gun in the park -- as countless children have -- and was immediately shot to death by police despite posing no threat to anyone.

Immediately after the shooting, police tackled Tamir’s 14-year-old sister as she rushed to his side, handcuffed her and held her in the back of their squad car unable to comfort her injured brother. Tamir’s mother was also prevented from going to her son, and threatened with arrest if she did not “calm down.” Neither Mr. Loehmann nor his partner, Frank Garmback, attempted to administer critical lifesaving procedures to Tamir as he lay bleeding immediately after the shooting.

After the December autopsy was released, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson reaffirmed his initial ruling that the shooting was a homicide and in June 2015, the Cleveland Municipal Court found probable cause for prosecutors to proceed with charges of murder and other offenses against Officer Loehmann. County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty instead declared that he would wait to follow a grand jury’s recommendation. A grand jury ultimately refused to indict Mr. Loehmann on any charges.

About EJI

The Equal Justice Initiative works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

Learn more

About this website

Until we confront our history of racial injustice and its legacy, we cannot overcome the racial bias that exists today.

Learn more