Expert: Slain boy's hands in pockets when shot

Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-05 16:33:39-05

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A 12-year-old boy killed by Cleveland police last year had his hands in his pockets when he was shot and wasn't reaching for the pellet gun he was carrying, according to an expert hired by the boy's family to review a frame-by-frame video of the deadly encounter.

Tamir Rice did not have enough time to remove his hands from his pockets before being shot and his hands were not visible to the officer, according to the report released late Friday night by attorneys for Tamir's family.

The new report and two others from experts already used by the family are the latest analysis of evidence to be released as a grand jury considers whether to bring charges against the officers in Tamir's death.

The boy was shot after authorities received a report of a man pointing and waving a gun outside a recreation center in November 2014. The rookie officer who fired at Tamir, Timothy Loehmann, told investigators he repeatedly ordered the boy to "show me your hands" then saw him pulling a weapon from his waistband before opening fire.

It turned out Tamir was carrying a nonlethal, Airsoft-type gun that shoots plastic pellets when Loehmann shot him outside the rec center. Tamir died a day later.

Previous reports concluded that Loehmann shot Tamir within 2 seconds of opening his car door. The new analysis determined it happened even faster, within less than a second, according to the review by California-based shooting reconstruction expert Jesse Wobrock.

With the patrol car windows rolled up, Tamir could not have heard commands to show his hands, Wobrock added.

"The scientific analysis and timing involved do not support any claim that there was a meaningful exchange between Officer Loehmann and Tamir Rice, before he was shot," Wobrock said.

Wobrock said comparing the location of a bullet hole in Tamir's jacket with the location of the wound on his body indicated that the boy had lifted his arm - with his hand in his pocket - at the moment he was shot.

Two other experts who previously reviewed the shooting for Tamir's family looked at the new frame-by-frame analysis - released by the county prosecutor - and also concluded Tamir wasn't reaching into his waistband when he was shot.

The attorneys for Tamir's family said Wobrock is available to testify before the grand jury. In response, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said an investigation is the search for the truth.

"We welcome and will review all credible relevant evidence from any source," McGinty said in a statement Saturday morning.

Tamir's family has criticized McGinty for months over the length of the investigation and has demanded charges against the officers.

McGinty previously made public reports by three experts saying Loehmann was justified in shooting Tamir outside a Cleveland recreation center on Nov. 22, 2014.

On Nov. 29, McGinty released an analysis of the video broken into 326 slides. On Tuesday, he released statements by Loehmann and his training officer, Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car that pulled up beside Tamir.

Attorneys for Tamir's family say the officers gave up their Fifth Amendment rights by reading the statements to the grand jury and are now required to answer questions on cross examination.

The caller who placed a 911 call before the shooting told the dispatcher the gun might not be real and the man might be a juvenile, but that information wasn't passed on to the officers.