The Cold-Blooded Police Murder of 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

December 8, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On Saturday afternoon, November 22, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was hanging out with friends around the Cudell Recreation Center, near his elementary school, in Cleveland.

He was doing something that can get you killed in AmeriKKKa—if you are Black. He was playing on a playground. Like millions of kids do all the time in yards and playgrounds, Tamir Rice was goofing around, twirling a toy gun.

Tamir Rice was Black. And now he’s dead. Another Black person murdered at the hands of the police.

What happened was caught on video. Watch it:

Based on a call to 911 that someone on the playground had a gun that was “probably fake,” a police car rolled up deep onto the playground grass and stopped right in front of Tamir Rice. Instantly, two cops jump out and one opens fire. Two seconds after police rolled up on him, Tamir Rice was shot twice in the stomach. As he lay on the ground police waited four minutes before even making any attempt to administer first aid.

Tamir Rice died early the next day.

Demonstrators block Public Square, in downtown Cleveland. November 25, 2014. Photo: AP

As quickly as a cop stole the life of Tamir Rice, the whole damn system went into motion to justify this outrageous, blatant murder, and trying to create sympathy for the murderer – like they always do when a pig murders a Black person. The authorities claimed the cop “had no choice.” No choice! A cop HAD to blast away two seconds after arriving on a playground where a youngster was doing absolutely nothing wrong?! Can anyone imagine any other circumstances, other than a cop killing a Black person or a Latino person, where anyone could be given airtime to say they had no choice in this situation?

The police and authorities and mainstream media slandered and tried to demonize Tamir Rice, like they always do to the victims of police murders. Playing in a park with a toy gun was portrayed as a capital offense! Meanwhile Tim Loehmann—the pig who rolled up on Tamir Rice, shot him in two seconds, and didn’t even begin to administer first aid for four minutes—was portrayed as a saint. The news was filled with stories about how he “attends church, socializes with friends and is doing ‘pretty well’ in the days following the Nov. 22 shooting.”

Cudell Park in Cleveland. November 24, 2014.
Photo: AP

The cold-blooded killing of Tamir outraged people and brought forth all kinds of outpourings of diverse sections of people at a moment when Cleveland is in the national spotlight because even the U.S. Department of Justice had to acknowledge 600 cases of police brutality and killing between 2010 and 2013. And it happened in the aftermath of the refusal of a grand jury in Ferguson to bring charges against the cop who murdered Michael Brown. The day after Tamir’s death 100 people, including college students and those who catch the hardest edge of police brutality from the neighborhood, came out and marched, and there was also a rally downtown. Many Black youth jumped in with “Fuck the Police” and over and over again said “That could be me!!” On Tuesday after the Ferguson decision was announced, about 300 people blocked a major highway for over an hour. “Justice for Tamir,” "Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!" and “12 years old/Don’t shoot” rang out loud and clear.

The night after Tamir Rice was killed, the police chief, Mayor, and city leaders held a “community meeting” in which they tried to reassure the more than 200 people attending that the police are their protectors, Tamir’s murder was a horrible "accident" and completely unavoidable, that Cleveland police have an excellent deadly force policy and are even being trained to understand the adolescent brain. Cleveland’s Black mayor made a big issue of introducing the new Black police chief, who offered platitudes and said the police department has handbooks for parents to teach their children how to act when approached by the police.

People WERE NOT buying it. City leaders were repeatedly interrupted by chants of “No Justice! No Peace!” Many people—Black and white residents of Tamir’s neighborhood, students from Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, Oberlin college, activists against police brutality and a distributor of Revolution newspaper spoke bitterness and asked probing questions—many indicting the whole system.

Protests large and small have continued to speak out about the killing of Tamir. It has become a rallying cry in the fight to end police brutality and murder, especially among youth and students. At Tamir’s wake, his family distributed posters featuring his picture and “We Demand and We Will Get Justice for Tamir.” At his funeral, bundles of Carl Dix’s statement, ”Police Murder Black People All the Damn Time. Why Does This Happen and What Will It Take for This to End?” got out. His aunt told revolutionaries, “We are going to take this horrible killing on and get justice for Tamir.”

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