Cleveland Authorities Release Footage of Fatal Police Shooting of 12-year-old with Fake Gun

Cleveland authorities released video footage Wednesday that depicts the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

The incident occurred Saturday afternoon outside the Cudell Recreation Center. Police were responding to a call of an individual brandishing a “fake” gun.

“The guy keeps pulling it out,” the 911 caller told the dispatcher. “It’s probably fake, but you know what, he’s scaring the (expletive) out of (inaudible). … He’s sitting on the swing right now, but he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants and pointing it at people. Probably a juvenile, you know? … I don’t know if it’s real or not, you know?”

Tamir was brandishing an airsoft firearm, but the orange tip had been remove thus making it indistinguishable from the real thing, said police.

The video was made public at the request of Tamir’s parents, who wrote a letter to the Cleveland Police Department and Mayor Frank Jackson.

“We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son’s life must be made public,” wrote Samaria Rice and Leonard Warner. “It is our prayer and request for citizens in the City of Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio to remain calm at this time. We ask for the public to demonstrate peacefully.”

A rookie officer pulled the trigger, Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told

Looking at the video footage, what are your thoughts about the shooting?

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Roman Smoth October 26, 2015, 8:26 am

    Poor outreach programs between police and communities. A lack of respect for officers of the law by ALL young people inner city, suburban and rural. Video games that promote violence against other people including officers of the law. Parents that use TV and Video games as a replacement for hands on parenting. Children ( and adults) that spend as much as 8 hours a day (or more) playing video games start confusing game reality for the real thing. Teachers with a “do the minimum and get the hell out” mentality. Children with a “do the minimum and get the hell out cause the teachers do” mentality. Administrators that care more about test scores, grants and budgets than the teachers and children in thir charge. Teachers in the public system that cannot make a living wage. Higher learning so expensive it’s out of reach to most and offers “a lot less for a lot more” The result? The dumbing down of America and dumb people make dumb decisions. The broken window concept applies here…… Fix the education system (the broken window) and you fix a lot of what ails us as a society. Remember stupidity is the number one cause of death.

    • Lloyd Dumas July 22, 2016, 6:06 am

      I agree with all your comments but what do you have to say about our police officers, surely something must be said of the officers actions as well. This would have never happened a few years ago, and if it did the officer would have been held accountable. What has gone so wrong with our police practices, and what has happened to our judicial system ??

  • Gary December 5, 2014, 11:01 am

    What happens when criminals start gluing orange plastic tips on the front of real 45’s. Play gun or real this kid took the tip off on purpose to intimidate someone into thinking it was real, he got his wish. BANG… Real gun trumps toy gun every time…….
    Bad scene, stupid kid.

  • jim December 3, 2014, 6:01 pm

    Cops are such pussies that they’d shoot a five year old with a squirt gun.

  • Russ December 2, 2014, 6:48 pm

    What are my feelings?
    I feel sorry for the cops that have to live with killing a person.
    I feel there are many uneducated and socially inept people in the world these days.
    Much more of this will happen because many don’t live in the real world.
    I blame the media and those that are brought up by pop culture and not competent parents.

  • oliver December 2, 2014, 1:24 pm

    Toy industries have to make toy guns not so realistic , start making them to look like a toy. They might just start saving children from getting shot. I was in police training a had a video of a five yr old kid pointing a gun at me. I could not shoot, my range officer told me bad decision I could be dead. So if it didn’t look so real Id of been right not to shoot. STOP my toy guns look so real.

  • ollie December 2, 2014, 1:13 pm

    Problem why make toy guns look so real, my lord police officers have a rough job ,I know when I was in police training I had a video that showed a 5yr old pointing a gun at me. I couldn’t bring my self to shoot him. My instructor said I have to protect my self , that little guy could end my life. Snap decisions are split second decisions. The toy industries got to make them look like toys instead real guns . Just might help police in their decisions.

  • Art Buller December 2, 2014, 11:56 am

    I agree, the Officer probably had to shoot. He responded per his training. The dick head that cow boyed in on that call should be fired. You don’t approach a “Man With a Gun Call” like that. Had it been a real gun, and the suspect a bad ass, that passenger Officer would be dead, and it would be on the hands of the jerk who drove up on that call like that. Who in the hell is teaching these guys these unsafe approaches anyway. You could say the same thing for Officer Wilson in Ferguson.

  • Mac December 2, 2014, 11:37 am

    A lot of things went wrong in this scenario. The first was that the driver of the squad car pulled up right next to the kid, instead of parking a dozen yards away and using the doors of the car as cover while they assessed the situation.

    That put the passenger – the rookie – right next to the kid with the gun. He had no time to evaluate anything. He either had to sit in the car, staring through the window and hoping for the best, or exit the vehicle and try to get to a place of safety to evaluate the situation. In leaving the car, he was within arms reach of the “person with the gun”. Now his choice is to grapple with someone who might be able to shoot him, or use his own gun to neutralize the threat. The fact that he shot and then ran indicates that’s what he was trying to do – disengage and seek safety.

    Back to the car. It looks like it skidded to a stop. From the kid’s point of view, here come the cops (siren screaming?) and it looks like they’re going to run him down. Now much time did he have to think about what was happening? Again, had they stopped farther away and drawn down on him from behind the doors of the squad car, he’d have shit his pants and dropped his toy gun.

    This is all about training, and the lack of training. Police in America today can deal with the fear, as long as they are well trained. It’s pretty clear to me these two were not.

    This WAS a needless death.

    And, lest you think I’m just another pundit, I’m a retired detective, with 21 years on the force.

    • Dan F. December 2, 2014, 12:44 pm

      No, you don’t point guns at cops and expect not to get shot. These officers probably had, in the back of their minds, story after story about active shooters in playgrounds. I hate the guys who have the benefit of cool reflection and think they’re qualified to second-guess street officers from their 72-degree detective desk as they tell people what THEY would’ve done. Don’t be like that.

  • Jim December 2, 2014, 11:37 am

    This 12 yr old seems to be good sized but it really is hard to see because of the camera and angle. It DOES appear that as soon as the Police showed up this kid reached in his waist and pulled this pistol replic firearm out like he was going to use it. If it had been a real firearm and the Officer hesitated then the Officer would be dead and either the second Officer or the kid wounded or killed and maybe both. Bad situation but I was not there and they were so have to believe that they reacted according to their training. My impression is that it was justified. It DID NOT have to happen though. If the kid just put his hands up and not moved as I am sure he was ordered to do so he would still be alive. Obey the police instructions exactly and immediately and you will not be shot. To react in a suspicious manner ill get you shot every time.

  • IMRedeemed December 2, 2014, 11:22 am

    First off, this incident should not be compared to the Ferguson incident; entirely different circumstances. I’m a retired LEO with extensive undercover experience as well. As a beat officer in a large ethnically-mixed metropolitan area, I faced very similar situations on more than one occasion and, fortunately, I never shot anyone.

    None of us were in the car or at the scene that day, but I do question the officers’ tactics. The 911 call provided quite a bit of detail and should’ve guided the officers arrival behavior. I have a hard time understanding why they chose to drive up right next to the “suspect” who they knew was reportedly armed with some sort of gun. They drove up on the grass instead of driving up into the parking lot or even the sidewalk. Their training should have resulted in their taking a more cautious and defensive approach, placing their squad car between them and the suspect. They could’ve exited the vehicle taking a defensive position and ordered the individual to stop and proceed to ask additional questions and/or give additional instructions.

    Was the officer justified in shooting this individual based on all the actions all parties took; probably so. However, others are going to question the officers’ tactics and I don’t think this is going to turn out too well for this officer.

  • pete December 2, 2014, 11:16 am

    Looks to me as though the cops pulled up their car way too close to the suspect, unnecessarily forcing the shooting. They should have approached more slowly (no shots fired by the suspect yet, no screaming running peopled in ‘danger’ at that moment, etc.). Using the car or other objects for cover, then verbally engaging the suspect while keeping him while he’s in sight and contained. Use the car PA if need be. Why drive right up to a brandishing suspect? Shoot if you have to, but don’t make the sit worse right of the bat for no good reason!

    • vinny December 2, 2014, 4:49 pm

      Yes i agree with that assessment. A law enforcement professional is supposed to be just that – professional..These guys rode right up on the child with the intention of having a quick confrontation without assessing the situation from a prudent distance. No time or chance for the child to submit to commands. It is always best to use caution and good old common sense. These officers showed extremely poor judgement and tactics on this one.

  • C Rickard December 2, 2014, 10:18 am

    In Reply to Tom: As a child I too played with toy guns, but one thing we had at that time was respect for the LEO, we heard stories of the ones who were rough and had bad reputations, but we didn’t fear them we respected the Badge they worn and knew as long as we showed respect and wasn’t breaking the law we were fine. I’m now retired as a LEO I never wanted to fear me just give me the respect I gave them until that respect turned to disrespect !

  • D.V.Johnson December 2, 2014, 8:45 am

    In Reply to Tom:
    When I was a kid, we also played with toy guns but they didn’t come close to resembling real firearms. Today’s toys can be realistic looking in the extreme. The fact that the 911 caller stated that people were being scared is an indication of this. So what’s to be done? The public is the public and as an undefined entity, largely and unrealistically unteachable as a group. The police are teachable as evidenced by their certification as officers of the law. I believe everyone should be responsible for their actions, and one way to hold LEOs accountable, would be the use of body cameras. Right or wrong, it would be recorded. Cameras are all around us in places public and private recording our actions, why not on the public’s keepers of the law? Good cops would not be affected, and “bad” cops would either change for the better or be weeded-out by their own actions. Just my opinion.

    • Winston December 2, 2014, 1:35 pm

      The toy guns looked real back in 1960s-70s: what are you talking about? I had them. The cops shot this child in less than 5 seconds. Press for murder charges- the BOY was playing by himself and the police EXECUTED him without warning. Why are you Americans so blind as to the Stasi- type climate in which you are being boiled?

  • Tom December 2, 2014, 5:26 am

    When I was a child we played with toy guns all the time and didn’t fear being shot by the police what’s different today is the police think we should be fearful of them and if we’re not we get shot.

    • Steve Lock December 2, 2014, 7:47 am

      I had toy guns as a child but never ever pointed them at a Policeman. That is just asking for trouble and I am British the Police didnt carry guns. In the USA.. you get what comes to you. Well now after these events i guess this will not happen any more…Yea…

      • Nate December 2, 2014, 12:07 pm

        I’ve heard people talk about how British police don’t carry guns. I always thought that a curious concept. What do they do when a bad guy starts using a gun? Not trying to be a smart ass, just seeking information.

        • dink winkerson December 2, 2014, 2:22 pm

          They have a special armed division for those times.

  • MatKep November 28, 2014, 8:18 am

    This incident, along with the one in Ferguson, has less to do with guns and more to do with the state of children these days. Many children are raised without respect and have little to no respect for authority. They also don’t respect themselves, the environment, etc. I feel terrible for any parent who loses a child however when you mix misraised children with guns, even toy guns, bad things happen. To quote Nut’n “Fix the parents fix the world”.

  • Jim Chandler November 26, 2014, 3:31 pm

    The video is so crappy you can’t even see the kid, let alone see when and why the shooting occurred. If I were in the officers place and an individual, regardless of age or race, pulled what looked like a real firearm and pointed it at me, I am afraid the result would have been the same. The officers don’t have the time to ask if the firearm is real or not. If they do they could be shot. The answer is simple, parents, train your children in the use of firearms at an early age. If this boy had had some training he would have never been that stupid. To Tamir’s parents, I’m sorry for your loss but the lesson remains. You want publicity for this incident? I’m saying publicly, DON’T LET YOUR KIDS BE STUPID.

    • Viking December 2, 2014, 8:01 am

      100% agree, I grew up around guns, if I touched one of my father’s guns I wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week

    • James December 3, 2014, 3:04 am

      If he had a real gun both cop would have been killed. They should have pulled way back and ask him to drop his toy. all cop want to kill first and then ask question. All cop are scared. A good cop would not need a gun if they were smarter.

      • daniel December 3, 2014, 6:59 pm

        You my friend, are an idiot!! Thats the stupidest thing i ever heard!! “Put the toy down”??? He wasnt waving a hoola hoop or a stretch armstrong in the air. It was a realistic looking gun that was getting pointed at people and the cops AND he was old enough to know better. A cop has a job to do so let them do it. If you think you could do any better then get a job in law enforcement and talk the criminals into being good guys since youre such a smart guy and you better not have a gun. You couldnt do it pansy!!! You would be the one who was scared wishing you had a gun when a mean little thug pointed a gun at you!!

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