June 25, 2002
November 23, 2014
Age at Death:
Tamir Elijah Rice was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Samaria Rice and Leonard Warner. His family described him as athletic, excelling at various sports—including football, basketball, swimming, and soccer—and often competing with kids older than him. He was involved in arts programs at his community recreation center, sculpting pottery and crocheting embroidery for his mother. At the time of his death, he attended Marion-Seltzer Elementary School where he was described as a "pleasant young man". He had an older sister and an older brother.
Mr. Rice was shot down in Cleveland, Ohio. Two police officers responded to a police dispatch call regarding a male who had a gun pointing it at people in a park. A caller reported that a male was pointing "a pistol" at random people at the Cudell Recreation Center, a park in the City of Cleveland's Public Works Department. Caller said the gun was probably a fake and the suspicious person was "probably a juvenile" - neither pieces of information were related to the responding officers. Turned out to be an airsoft gun. Mr. Rice was shot in the chest after officers yelled from the patrol car "show me your hands." It is noteworthy that the manner in which the police responded to Mr. Rice's sister's arrival at the scene of the shooting also led to complaints against the police officers. The event led to substantial national demonstrations and fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.
Was justice served?
Yes and no. It took considerable effort and persistence by the family to get any type of justice. The speed by which the arriving officers shot Mr. Rice is one important aspect in making the case for inappropriate response to the situation. The time between "Show your hands!" and the shooting is 2 seconds! Further, while FBI found the officers justified, it was later revealed the officer that shot Mr. Rice failed to reveal to the Cleveland PD that he had been deemed "emotionally unstable recruit and unfit for duty" by another city's police department. Both officers refused to be interviewed during the county prosecutors investigation. The lawsuit the family brought against the city, the individual officers responding and the police department was settled for $6 million but the responding police officers were never held accountable.