12-year-old Tamir Rice has died after being shot by police in Cleveland, after carrying what turned out to be a replica gun in a playground. Police say an officer fired two shots after Tamir failed to obey an order to raise his hands. He did not point the gun towards the officers nor did he make any verbal threats.
The BBC reports: A lawyer representing his family said it would be carrying out its own investigation into what happened.
The incident comes as a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, will decide imminently whether to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.
His shooting in August in Ferguson sparked days of violent protests in the town, prompting a heavy police crackdown.
The boy was shot on Saturday afternoon and died in hospital early on Sunday morning.
Cleveland deputy police chief Ed Tomba said the boy was shot twice after pulling the gun from the waistband of his trousers.
Tamir Rice had a “baby face” according to his family’s lawyer Timothy Kucharski
Police said the weapon was an “airsoft” replica gun that resembled a semi-automatic pistol, adding that an orange safety indicator had been removed.
An audio recording of the 911 emergency call made by the man who reported the incident reveals that on two occasions he said that the pistol was “probably a fake” and on another occasion that the person holding it “was probably a juvenile”.
The caller also said that he was not sure whether the weapon was “real or not”.
But Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland police association, said the two officers at the scene were not told about the caller’s comments.