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Tamir Rice's Death Ruled A Homicide By Medical Examiner

The death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot last month by a police officer, has been ruled a homicide by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner.

Tamir suffered gunshot wounds to the torso and suffered injures of "major vessel, intestines and pelvis," the examiner's report said.

Tamir, who was carrying a replica gun, was shot by rookie Officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 23. We reported at the time:

"Police responded to a 911 call complaining of a 'guy' who was pointing a 'probably fake' gun at people near a playground. Police say when they got to the scene, they asked the boy to put his hands up and he instead reached for his waistband.

"A police officer fired two rounds, hitting Tamir Rice's torso. It turned out he was carrying a replica gun that fires plastic BBs. Rice died at a local hospital on Sunday."

Surveillance video, which the police released, shows Tamir was shot within seconds of a patrol car stopping near him. A graphic video of the encounter can be seen here.

Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, said today that the officers involved in the fatal shooting were not informed by the dispatcher that the suspect's gun might be a toy or he a child.

Tamir's family last week filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and the police department.

A grand jury will now consider whether to bring charges against the officer.

Today's development comes a week after the U.S. Justice Department found that Cleveland police have "engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force because of inadequate training and a lack of accountability." But Mayor Frank Jackson said Thursday that while there are problems, they aren't systemic.

The news about Tamir comes soon after grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New Yorkdeclined to charge police officers in the shooting deaths of men, who like Tamir, were black.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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