CLEVELAND – A grand jury declined to indict two white Cleveland police officers in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who had a pellet gun. But prosecutors say plenty of mistakes were made that led to the tragedy. Among them, they say, were:
— Someone had removed an orange tip to the gun that would have identified it as a toy. The gun's owner had warned Tamir about playing with it because of the possibility it could be mistaken for a real one.
— No one intervened despite Tamir wielding the toy gun for at least two hours, drawing it from his waistband and pointing it at other people at a recreation center before police were called.
— Dispatchers failed to relay to officers that the person scaring people at the recreation center likely was a juvenile with a toy gun. Officers thought they were confronting an adult. Tamir, at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, could pass for a grown-up.
— Officer Frank Garmback, upon arriving at the rec center, stopped the police cruiser, as it skidded on wet, slippery pavement, no more than 10 feet from Tamir. The close proximity heightened the tension when the boy turned to approach the cruiser while drawing the gun from his waistband, leading Officer Timothy Loehmann to fire two shots at him. Tamir died later at a hospital.