The Cleveland Police Department has claimed that an officer “shouted verbal commands” from inside his patrol car before fatally shooting 12-year-old Tamir Rice on a playground in November, but witness interviews do not support the statement, according to a report released Saturday by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, reports CNN.
A grand jury will study the sheriff’s report and determine whether to indict the officer. The report comes after a judge said on Thursday that there was probable cause to charge Timothy Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, but his opinion is not binding.
The case began when Loehmann shot and killed Tamir Nov. 22 after a citizen called 911 to report a “guy with a pistol” outside a city recreation center, the report notes. But the officers weren’t told that the caller said the gun might be “fake” and the guy might be a juvenile, CNN says. Rice actually had a toy gun.
Upon arriving on the scene, police claim, Loehmann told Tamir three times to put his hands up, then opened fire when the boy reached for the pellet gun tucked in his waistband, the report say.
But witness accounts and surveillance video shows Loehmann firing two shots within two seconds after his police cruiser slid to a stop near the child, who was holding a toy gun.
An FBI agent working on a bank-robbery detail nearby rushed to Tamir’s aid. The agent told investigators that Tamir’s wound was severe but he was still initially conscious, according to the Associated Press.
“They wanted to do something, but they didn’t know what to do,” the agent told investigators about Loehmann and Garmback, AP writes.