Tamir Rice
YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT

A new report says that Tamir Rice’s hands were in his pocket and not reaching for his toy gun when a Cleveland police officer fatally shot him last year, the Associated Press reports.

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This video analysis, released Friday by the attorneys for Tamir’s family, disputes a statement by the officers involved in the shooting, which was made public on Dec. 2.

According to Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the 12-year-old boy, who they say appeared older, reached into his waistband before Loehmann fatally shot Tamir in November 2014. Their recently released statement is the first time that the public has heard their official version of the incident.

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But the video expert said that Tamir did not have enough time to remove his hands from his pockets before Loehmann shot him. A grand jury is currently hearing evidence on whether to charge the two officers.

Tamir was playing with a pellet gun inside a Cleveland recreational center before Loehmann shot him. A video captured the moment when the officers’ patrol car, responding to a 911 call, pulls up to Tamir, and Loehmann shoots the boy within two seconds. The officers reportedly were not aware that a witness said the gun was probably a fake and Tamir looked like a juvenile.

Tamir could not hear the officers order him to show his hands, as they claimed, because their patrol-car windows were up, said Jesse Wobrock, the shooting reconstruction expert.

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“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 added.

Two other experts used by the boy’s family previously arrived at the same conclusion. The family’s attorneys reportedly told Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty that Wobrock is available to testify at the grand jury hearing.

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“We welcome and will review all credible relevant evidence from any source,” McGinty said Saturday, according to AP.

Meanwhile, there are increasing calls to replace McGinty with a special prosecutor. A group supporting the family recently delivered a petition to McGinty, reportedly with 200,000 signatures, demanding that he step aside from the case.

The lawyers for Tamir’s family have also criticized McGinty. They’ve condemned his decision to obtain “pro-police” experts who justified the police shooting. Choosing those experts is part of the prosecutor’s attempt to “whitewash” the shooting, they’ve alleged.  

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