Partner Of Cop Who Killed Tamir Rice: ‘I Didn’t Know It Was A Kid’
Photo courtesy of Rice family attorney
Two new interviews with the police officers involved with the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, have been released.
Unearthed by Cleveland.com on Tuesday afternoon, the two investigative interviews are separate videos that feature homicide detectives and internal affairs officers talking to officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, “within days” after Tamir’s death.
Both videos not only offer a glimpse at how Loehmann and Garmback felt following the incident, but they particularly contradict Loehmann’s written statement that he offered during his testimony. For the latter, Garmback recounts how he was preparing Loehmann for the “gun run” call involving Tamir. Throughout the almost 30 minutes long video Garmback breaks down crying, as he also recounted his realization that Tamir was a 13-year-old boy, as well as the teenager’s final moments.
“I didn’t know it was a kid,” Garmback said. “He’s barely breathing, and there’s no rescue squad here…Then [firefighters] come up. And they’re walking so slow. Other units are telling them to hurry up, get over there. They still walk slow.”
In Loehmann’s video, the officer says that he opened his door before the cruiser came to a stop, presented his weapon and yelled the following at Tamir: “Put your hands in the air! Let me see your weapon! Freeze!”
This is where what Loehmann offered in the video differed from his written testimony, where he wrote that he hadn’t opened the car door nor yelled at Tamir until the car was rolling to a stop.
Loehmann then states that he saw the gun (which inevitably turned out to be a toy gun) but does not say Tamir pointed the gun at him. He also says that Tamir was walking away but turned around, lifted up his shirt and reached for the weapon.
“And I fired two shots,” Loehmann recounted. “The threat just became incredible. I had to make the decision fast because Frank and I were in immediate danger. If the subject did pull out the gun and point it towards us, I would have been shot and possibly my partner…Plus, I was stuck in the doorway and my partner was still seated in the driver’s seat. So we were basically sitting ducks.”
Although a grand jury found Loehmann’s use of force justifiable, the two officers do face administrative charges that could cost them their jobs.
View both interviews below.