Family of Tamir Rice files wrongful death lawsuit against Cleveland Police Department

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Tamir Rice Video Shows Cop Opening Fire On 12-Year-Old

The family of a 12-year-old who had a pellet gun when he was shot by a Cleveland police officer filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday, saying two officers acted recklessly when they confronted the boy in a terrifying manner and fired within seconds.

The federal lawsuit filed against the city and the two officers also said the officers waited four minutes before anyone provided medical help to Tamir Rice after he was shot outside a city recreation center.

Surveillance video released by police shows Tamir being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping within a few feet of him at a park on Nov. 22. It shows the boy reaching in his waistband for what police later discovered was an airsoft gun, which shoots nonlethal plastic projectiles. He died the next day.

Police were responding to a 911 call about a gun at a playground. The officers had a chance "to safely initiate their encounter from a safe distance but instead stopped their cruiser immediately next to young Tamir," the lawsuit said.

Police have said rookie officer Tim Loehmann believed the boy had a real firearm. The officer's father has said his son had no other choice. A grand jury will consider whether charges are merited.

"Young boys playing with replica guns are commonplace in America and police are expected to approach them safely if an investigation is warranted, not shoot them dead within two seconds," said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. It seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Tamir was alone and not pointing the pellet gun at anyone when the officers arrived, the lawsuit said.

A spokesman for the city declined to comment on the lawsuit. Court documents did not list the name of Loehmann's attorney.

The shooting has sparked protests across Cleveland.

About 75 people chanting "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot" marched through downtown Friday afternoon and briefly blocked traffic on a bridge that crosses the Cuyahoga River. Police officers diverted traffic as protesters lay in the street.

On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department released findings from a nearly two-year investigation of Cleveland police, which found its officers use excessive and unnecessary force far too often.

The report did not look into Tamir's death, but U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, while announcing the report's findings, said that the deaths of young blacks, including in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, have raised urgent national questions about the sense of trust between police and communities.

Loehmann joined Cleveland police in March after spending six months in 2012 with the police department in suburban Independence.

The lawsuit noted that personnel files released earlier this week showed that police supervisors in Independence decided Loehmann lacked the maturity needed to work in their department. A letter in his file said there was a pattern of a lack of discretion and not following instructions.

"In law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed," the letter said.

Loehmann resigned from the Independence Police Department in December 2012 after meeting with his supervisors about their concerns.

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Family of Tamir Rice files wrongful death lawsuit against Cleveland Police Department
This undated photo provided by the family's attorney shows Tamir Rice. Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun, triggering an investigation into his death and a legislator's call for such weapons to be brightly colored or bear special markings. (AP Photo/Courtesy Richardson & Kucharski Co., L.P.A.)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Kids with Tamir Rice signs. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2015/11/22: Stop Mass Incarceration Network co-founder Carl Dix with sign. Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march demanding accountability on the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
FILE - This is a Nov. 28, 2015 file photo of a combination of still images taken from a surveillance video and released Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, that shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office via AP, File)
This still image taken from a surveillance video played at a news conference held by Cleveland Police, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, shows Cleveland police officers arriving at Cudell Park on a report of a man with a gun. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This fake handgun taken from 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by Cleveland police over the weekend, is displayed after a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. The 12-year-old was shot at a city park after he reportedly pulled the Colt 1911 replica on arriving officers. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, watches the video of Tamir's shooting during a news-conference Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Cleveland. Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, and attorneys Walter Madison, right, watch. Rice and her attorneys talked about the city's response to the lawsuit, a day after Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson apologized for wording in a court document in which the city said the boy died as a result of his own actions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this March 3, 2015 file photo, Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, talks about the family's lawsuit against the city in Cleveland. âI have not yet received an apology from the police department or the city of Cleveland in regards to the killing of my son,â she said. âAnd it hurts.â (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: Cory Webb, 24, raises a sign on the corner of E. Roadway as demonstrators protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 20: An unidentified woman raises a sign to protest police violence December 20, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors from Ferguson travelled to Cleveland to rally against the shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on Euclid Ave. in the Playhouse Square district December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors gathered to voice opposition to the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Demonstrators march on E. 9th Street December 21, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. For the second straight day protestors gathered in downtown Cleveland to voice opposition to excessive use of police force. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Rev. Al Sharpton (C) leads the 'Justice For All' march in the nation's capital with the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo and other unarmed black men who were killed by police, December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Organized Sharpton's National Action Network, this march and other like it across the country aim to tell Congress and the country that demonstrators will not stand down until there is systemic change, accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct. Sharpton said the demonstration is happening in Washington 'because all over the country we all need to come together and demand this Congress deal with the issues, that we need laws to protect the citizens in these states from these state grand jurors.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Samaria Rice, center, speaks about the investigation into the death of her son Tamir Rice, at a news conference with attorneys Walter Madison, left, and Benjamin Crump in Cleveland, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014, as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Samaria Rice, of Cleveland, Ohio, touches her hand to her face during an interview at The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in New York. A Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 22 as he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center. Rice says her son was never given a chance to follow officers' orders, but she believes the family "will have justice." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Surveillance video released by police shows Tamir Rice being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping within a few feet of him at a park on Nov. 22. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Attorney Benjamin Crump, left, answers questions during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Samaria Rice, second from right, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, listens. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. Tamir Rice was confronted Nov. 22 when officers responded to a 911 call about someone with a gun near a playground. Surveillance video shows him being shot within 2 seconds of a patrol car stopping nearby. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Samaria Rice, center, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Cleveland. Rice says she wants the police officer convicted for killing her son, who was carrying a pellet gun that police say looked real. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - This file photo from Dec. 8, 2014, shows Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer, as she speaks during a news conference in Cleveland. Leonard Warner, right, Tamir's father, listens. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice, one of the higher-profile cases of black deaths at the hands of officers that have roiled cities nationwide, could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
CORRECTS THE ID OF THE MALE ON POSTER TO TAMIR RICE - Tomiko Shine holds up a picture of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy fatally shot on Nov. 22 by a rookie police officer, during a protest in response to a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo. to not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, at the Department of Justice in Washington, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Protesters across the U.S. have walked off their jobs or away from classes in support of the Ferguson protesters. Rice's death has also sparked community demonstrations against police shootings. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Cleveland police deputy chief Ed Tomba answers questions at a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, after the release of the surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. Listening are Chief Calvin Williams, left, and Mayor Frank Johnson, second from left. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, second from right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba, right, shows surveillance video of the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators lay down in Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Demonstrators block the Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators surround a car on Memorial Shoreway in Cleveland. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. The protestors blocked both lanes of the highway for about an hour during the evening rush. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters block cars on the freeway Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
File - In this Nov. 25, 2014 file photo, police arrest a demonstrator protesting against the shooting of 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Cleveland. The revelation that Cleveland police officials didn't review the checkered history of a police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy highlights what some describe as an unnerving truth about policing -- there's no universal standard for how deeply a department should dig into its recruits' pasts. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, file)
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice at Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators gather to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators block Public Square in Cleveland Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in a protest over the weekend police shooting of Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Angeli Delcerro places a large stuffed toy at the makeshift memorial for Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a replica gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Demonstrators march to protest the shooting of Tamir Rice at Cudell Park in Cleveland, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. The 12-year-old was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer Saturday after he reportedly pulled a fake gun at the city park. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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