Day 28 - Last Words: Tamir Rice

Day 28 - Last Words: Tamir Rice

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- Tamir Rice, 2002-2014

Tamir Rice, age 12, played with an Airsoft toy gun on a swing in a city park in Cleveland, OH on the afternoon of November 22, 2014. A caller sitting in a nearby gazebo alerted police that a black male was pointing a “pistol” at people, saying that the gun was “probably fake.”

Two officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, arrived on the scene and, within two seconds, Loehmann fired two shots. Rice was hit in the torso, but the officers did not administer first aid. Seven minutes later paramedics arrived and took him to MetroHealth Medical Center, where Rice died the following day. His last words are unknown.

On December 28, 2015, a grand jury decided not to indict the officers. The police held Rice's body for six months after his death. Ohio is an “open carry” state, where open carry of firearms is legal with or without a license. In April 2015 the city of Cleveland agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the relatives of Tamir Rice.

Sources: Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, New York Times

When it’s something so messed up, it’s like a million pieces of a puzzle scattered out in front of you. How are you supposed to put that together?
— Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. She is the author of Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil.
“I don’t know what I could say which would make any sense to them, because in fact this does not make any sense.”
— James Baldwin, Take This Hammer, 1963
God, death after death after death. And now Tamir Rice, a child, aged twelve. We cannot make sense of it, Lord, like a puzzle of a million pieces that we cannot put back together. We cannot make sense of it because it does not make any sense. Keep us from making sense of violence. Keep the strangeness of a dead child ever-strange, so that we do not become comfortable with such death. Still, let the violence end.

Stop the bullets, we pray. Let the hearts of the children still beat, from Emmett Till to Tamir Rice. Amen.



 

 

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