Photo Courtesy of NYT

Photo Courtesy of NYT

By Iness Rabah

Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, was shot by police on November, 22, 2014, and died shortly after being sent to the hospital. The police officer who fatally wounded him was responding to a 911 call about a boy being in possession of a gun. The gun turned out to be an airsoft gun, which seemed realistic.

The incident occurred near a playground, after a caller reported seeing a boy repeatedly removing the weapon from his waistband. The gun did not have the orange tip identifying that it was a BB gun and closely resembled a semi-automatic pistol.

The caller said to the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake” and also said “I don’t know if it’s real or not.” However, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association said the 911 dispatcher who responded to the call did not share that information with the officers.

Upon arrival, the officer on-scene ordered Rice to put his hands up. Instead, Rice pulled out the gun from his waistband and was immediately shot twice in the torso.

The two officers that were present were given administrative leave, however, their names have not yet been publicly released. Officers say a surveillance video showed the incident very clearly. The video was shown to the representatives of the family.

“Who would’ve thought he would go so soon? He had his whole life ahead. To be 12 years old, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Police, they know what they’re doing,” Rice’s father Gregory Henderson spoke out emotionally.

“From this tragedy we can gain knowledge and we can proactively and diligently teach our children about the dangers of weapons, mainly handguns, whether they be real or fake. Guns are not toys,” reported Chief Calvin Williams.

Williams passionately stressed the importance of all communities educating each other about not only the dangers of weapons, but also that the police force care about the children of the community and work to protect them.

The police are still investigating the incident and a grand jury has decided that the actions of the officers was justifiable.