CLEVELAND (AP) — City police plan to release the names of the two officers involved in the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy, along with dispatch calls and a surveillance video that authorities say clearly shows what happened.
The evidence and names will be made public at a briefing early Wednesday afternoon.
Tamir Rice died at a hospital after being shot Saturday by an officer who had responded to a call about someone with a gun at a Cleveland playground. Police say Tamir was told to raise his hands but instead reached into his waistband for what appeared to be a firearm. Police later determined it was an airsoft gun, which shoots small plastic pellets, that did not have an orange safety indicator at the end of the barrel.
Police Chief Calvin Williams told Cleveland City Council members at a safety committee hearing Wednesday morning that police will be making the evidence public “so that people can come to their own conclusions.”
The family’s attorneys saw the video Monday. They later called for the full footage to be released publicly. City officials had withheld the video, saying that it was evidence and that they wanted to be sensitive to the family, the community and the officer, whom they described as distraught.
Police haven’t discussed what the video shows, but Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the footage is “very clear” about what occurred.
The shooting has led to an investigation of the officer’s use of force and protests referencing this and other police-involved shootings.
The officers involved have been interviewed, and police have obtained statements from several other people, Tomba said Wednesday during the safety committee meeting. He said police are monitoring social media for any indications of other potential witnesses and are pleading for people to come forward if they have information related to the case, even it is just a tidbit.
“We definitely need the public’s help,” Tomba said. “We want to make sure it’s a comprehensive investigation.”
On Tuesday evening, several hundred demonstrators marched down an exit ramp and temporarily blocked rush-hour traffic on a busy Cleveland freeway. Police diverted traffic but didn’t take action against the protesters, who chanted phrases such as “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace.”
The demonstration came as protesters across the country decried a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.
(Photo Source: AP)