You are all familiar with this story. A young boy is playing in the park, a police car pulls up and in less than two seconds, 12-year old Tamir Rice is on the ground, bleeding from what would prove to be a fatal gunshot wound. For more than six months the investigation(s) into this videotaped killing has languished. Now, coincidentally, two days after a judge found probable cause that the police officer who shot Rice should face murder charges, and the Associated Press was presented with the opportunity to run a hit job on ... Tamir Rice. And, boy, oh boy, did they run with it.
It turns out that, again, after more than six months of silence and yet just two days after the judge's opinion, documents in the killing of Tamir were released "in the interests of transparency." Uh huh. Cue the Associated Press with its screaming headline:
Boy with pellet gun warned by friend before police shooting
That's right! Tamir was warned! No word if Tamir was warned that he would be shot without warning for the crime of being in a public park, because the only quotes in this article come from the prosecutor, an unnamed FBI agent and the shooter's lawyer.
We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!
Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers. This media model only works if enough readers pitch in. We have millions of readers every month and, it seems, too many take our survival for granted. It isn't. Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slow - only 503 readers have contributed a total of $19,000 so far. We must raise $31,000 more before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
So, what else do we learn from the Associated Press?
Investigators were told that Tamir used the airsoft gun, which shoots non-lethal plastic projectiles, to shoot at car tires that day.
Not only non-lethal, but non-able-to-shoot-out-a-freaking-tire. Not to mention, that's not why the police confronted Tamir.
The video appears to show Tamir reaching for the pellet gun, which is tucked in his waistband, after he was shot.
It does? The only thing I see is Tamir reaching for his his stomach when he's shot.
And what about the police officers being "criticized for not giving Tamir first aid"? (Side note: Do you think the Associated Press could come up with a stronger word than "criticized" in describing two men standing over the dying body of a 12-year old, doing absolutely nothing to help him?) Cue the unnamed FBI agent who happened to be in the area and did attempt to render some sort of first aid more than four minutes after Tamir was shot:
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Get our best delivered to your inbox.
The officers seemed to freeze, the agent said.
"They wanted to do something, but they didn't know what to do," the agent told investigators.
Of course the officers weren't too frozen to take down Tamir's 14-year old sister, tackling her, handcuffing her and tossing her in the back of their squad car when she had the temerity to run up to her brother.
And according to the FBI agent, the shooter was really upset!
Loehmann, who had sprained his ankle while falling back after the shooting, was described as distraught by the agent, according to the documents.
In fact, Loehmann was so distraught that the initial story was—you know, before the video proved that he was lying through his teeth—that:
A rookie officer and a 10-15 year veteran pulled into the parking lot and saw a few people sitting underneath a pavilion next to the center. The rookie officer saw a black gun sitting on the table, and he saw the boy pick up the gun and put it in his waistband, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeffrey Follmer said.
The officer got out of the car and told the boy to put his hands up. The boy reached into his waistband, pulled out the gun and the rookie officer fired two shots, Tomba said.
All lies. Apparently the Associated Press forgot about that whole videotape thing because they dutifully conclude this absolute load of codswallop disguised as journalism with this:
In Tamir's death, Cleveland police said Loehmann told him three times to drop the weapon before the boy reached toward his waistband and the officer fired.
Sheriff's detectives wrote that from witness interviews it was unclear if Loehmann shouted anything to Tamir from inside the cruiser before opening fire.
Oh, and we also learn that Tamir was "big for his age," that the FBI agent guessed he was an "older teenager" and that police officers "shared the same belief."
So ... apparently he had it coming.
4:01 PM PT: Note that the Associated Press has now changed the headline. Head below the fold for a screenshot of the original.