The mother of a 12-year-old boy shot dead last month by Cleveland police after he was seen holding a toy gun said today the most agonizing moment was when she had to decide whether to go with her injured son to the hospital or stay at the recreation center playground to figure out why her daughter was in the back seat of a police car.
“I asked the police to let my daughter go and they wouldn’t at that time and I asked them, ‘What’s going on?’ But they wasn’t telling me anything, just saying, ‘Calm down, calm down,” Samaria Rice said at a news conference today, adding that her daughter told her later that police had tackled her before handcuffing her and placing in the back of the their vehicle near Tamir Rice’s body.
“I knew she was crying for me but I couldn’t see her hands,” Rice said of her 14-year-old daughter, who was inside the rec center at the time of the shooting.
Rice’s family filed a suit last week against the city of Cleveland and both Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Rice, and Frank Garmback, who was driving the car. Rice was shot on Nov. 22 less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside the boy at a park.
Rice spoke publicly for the first time on the fatal shooting, saying the cops involved should be criminally convicted.
“I’m looking for a conviction for both of the officers,” Rice said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“He was just a wonderful kid,” she said. “He was my baby.”
Rice sat with her attorney, Benjamin Crump, who has also represented the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager whose fatal shooting by police in Ferguson, Missouri, led to months of protests.
Asked what happened the day her son died, Rice said: “Two little boys came and knocked on my door … and said police just shot your son twice in the stomach,” Samaria said. “I really thought they was playing, like joking around, and I saw the seriousness in their face.”
Rice said her son was loved by every one. “He was a bright child and he had a promising future,” she said.
Both officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave and the shooting is being investigated by Cleveland authorities. The case will go to a grand jury for possible charges.
Watch Samira Rice’s “GMA” interview above.
(Photo/Video Source: Good Morning America/ABC News)