CLEVELAND – Just under 2 1/2 years since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland Police, video of the two officers involved recounting the incident has been released.
The videos, issued by Subodh Chandra, lawyer to the Rice family, show internal interviews with officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann. Loehmann fired the two shots that killed Rice outside Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014 after police received a report of someone pointing a gun at people.
The two officers, along with a third who was at the scene off-duty, are facing administrative disciplinary charges for how they handled procedure.
WKYC has cut the two videos down into shorter portions at the top of each section, but the full-length interviews are also included in the story below.
Officer Frank Garmback recalled the incident starting with a previous call he and Loehmann completed at St. Ignatius church.
As the two were leaving the church, Garmback said radio issued a Code 1 call for a “male at Cudell park, camo hat, grey jacket, black sleeves, waving a gun at people.” An age was not provided.
Garmback said he and Loehmann accepted the assignment as back-up and drove toward the scene with their cruiser’s overhead lights activated. Garmback said he turned off the lights when the car turned from West Boulevard onto Madison Avenue.
“I like to catch perps or suspects,” Garmback said. “If I go lights and sirens, they hear me and they’re not on scene anymore.”
Garmback said he drove “the back way” on W. 100th Street by the fire station in order to catch the potential suspect off guard and to prevent escape. As the car turned onto W. 100th Street, Garmback recalled seeing someone matching the suspect description in the pavilion next to the swings.
The cruiser cut across the grass to keep the suspect from running and Garmback said he warned Loehmann to be prepared for the suspect to run.
The suspect stopped and turned to face the officers and Loehmann shouted, “Show me your hands,” Garmback recalled. He also said Rice did not raise his hands, but instead reached toward his waistband.
“I can see through here, the kid reaching, pulling…” Garmback recounted as he appeared to tear up. “I didn’t know it was a kid. I could see him pulling the gun out of his waistband. I don’t know if I was in or out of the car. I can still see him through the window and I hear shots.”
Garmback said he heard Loehmann fire two shots. He said he ran around the car and could see the suspect on the ground.
“There’s a hand gun a foot or two away from his hand,” Garmback said, noting he kicked the gun away from reach and issued a call for EMS.
“I’m still looking at this kid, he’s reaching still,” Garmback recalled. “We’re telling him, ‘Show me your hands, show me your hands.’ I know I kicked a gun out of the way, but I’m not sure what he’s still doing and he lifts up his shirt. I think he went to show me his wound.”
Garmback said he thought Rice may have had a second gun in that moment.
“We didn’t know what he was doing. …When I realized he was just showing me his wound, that’s when I holstered my weapon,” he said.
That’s when Rice’s sister ran from the recreation center screaming, “You shot my brother!” Garmback said. Loehmann placed Rice’s sister in handcuffs and put her in the back of the cruiser.
Garmback said he made several pleas for EMS to hurry.
“It seemed like forever for them to get there,” he said.
Another officer and an FBI agent arrived on scene, and Garmback said the agent tried to care for Rice.
“The kid’s airway’s not doing real good,” Garmback recounted. “He’s talking to the kid and the kid’s looking at him. …It’s not looking good.”
Garmback said Rice didn’t say anything as he was on the ground.
“I can see the kid’s eyes rolling into the back of his head,” an emotional Garmback said. “He’s barely breathing and there’s no rescue squad there.”
Garmback claimed once the fire rescue squad arrived on scene, they were urged to quicken their pace.
“Fire comes up, they’re walking so slow,” Garmback said. “Other units on scene tell them, ‘Speed it up, get over there.’ They’re still walking so slow.”
After that, Garmback said he stepped back from the scene and tossed his gloves in the trash.
“I didn’t know what else to do. There’s nothing else I could have done,” he said.
Throughout the first 10 minutes of the 50-minute video, Loehmann recounts the day Rice died.
Loehmann said he was advised by Garmback to be prepared to draw his weapon in the event they are under fire. He said they used lights and sirens at times throughout their response to the scene, depending on the flow of traffic.
“Immediately, you see a man sitting underneath the gazebo by himself just at a picnic table. As we are getting closer, the male matched the exact description that radio gave us,” Loehmann said. “The male was sitting there, and then he turns around and notices our zone car approaching him. The male immediately stands up and he grabs the gun off the table and shoves it in his waistband. … Then, immediately upon that, at that point, I knew he had a gun. So, I opened the door slightly ajar and I had presented my weapon. I started screaming verbal commands. ‘Put your hands in the air! Put your hands in the air! Let me see your hands! Freeze! Put your hands in the air!’ I said it numerous times, loud. I presented my gun through the window.”
READ MORE: WKYC.com
Article and First through Fourth Videos Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland
Picture Courtesy of AFP, Jordan Gonzalez, and Getty Images