Tamir Rice's Mother Remains Frustrated 2 Years after Death

By Gillispie, Mark | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

Tamir Rice's Mother Remains Frustrated 2 Years after Death


Gillispie, Mark, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


CLEVELAND * Samaria Rice is trying to find a path forward for herself and her family two years after her son, Tamir, 12, was fatally shot by police while holding a pellet gun at the city recreation center where he played nearly every day.

Rice is working to set up a foundation in Tamir's name to provide scholarships and mentor children using a portion of what she's owed from the city of Cleveland in a $6 million settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit, she told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

Rice said she agreed to settle instead of going to trial after the judge advised that the money could help her and her family three older children and a young grandchild start to heal.

"It's disturbing that I had to put a price on my son, that I was forced to make a decision I didn't want to make," Rice said. "I don't wish that decision on nobody."

She keeps an urn with Tamir's ashes and some of his belongings in a curio cabinet that she said she'd take with her when she finally moved out of the state.

"I'm not leaving him in Ohio when I leave," she said.

Rice, 39, struggles with grief but also with anger and frustration that no one has been held accountable for Tamir's death and with what she said are the racially driven fears of officers who injudiciously kill members of what she calls the "black and brown community."

"I believe if my son was white, he would probably still be here," Rice said. "There is no reason for my son to be dead."

Rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann, who is white, shot Tamir, who was black, less than two seconds after a cruiser driven by patrolman Frank Garmback, Loehmann's training officer, skidded to a stop a few feet from Tamir outside the Cudell Recreation Center on Nov. 22, 2014. Tamir died the next day. The shooting was caught on surveillance video.

The two officers had gone to the recreation center on a high- priority "gun run" after a man drinking beer and waiting for a bus at the recreation center called 911 to report that a "guy" was pointing a gun at people. …

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