Tamir Rice Hearing – January 26, 2021, 11 am Eastern
Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Tamir Rice
- Rapporteur Priscilla Ocen
- Commissioner Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo
- Commissioner Sir Clare Roberts
- Ms. Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice
- Mr. Billy Mills, attorney for the Rice family
Priscilla Ocen 00:01
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on systemic racist, systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. These hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of unjustified killing and maiming of Black people by police officers in the United States before an international panel of human rights experts. We now begin the hearing in the case of Tamir Rice. My name is Priscilla Ocen, and I am the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing today are commissioners Roberts, Sir Clare Roberts of Antigua, and Commissioner Uwaifo, Hannibal Uwaifo of Nigeria. The witnesses for this hearing our attorney Billy J. Mills, and Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice. There will be 50 minutes for this hearing. Witnesses will testify followed by a period of questions from commissioners, I will call time at the 30 minute mark and at the 45 minute mark, please excuse my interruptions. Commissioners Roberts and Uwaifo, I now present present to your first witness attorney Billy J. Mills. Mr. Mills, please confirm your name.
Billy Mills 01:21
Sure, thank you also for, just in general for the opportunity to present this case and for everyone’s time and efforts in organizing –
Priscilla Ocen 01:28
Just before you, just before you begin, can you confirm your name?
Billy Mills 01:32
Yes, my name is William Joseph Mills, or Billy Joe Mills.
Priscilla Ocen 01:38
Thank you very much. Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Billy Mills 01:45
Priscilla Ocen 01:47
Thank you very much. You may begin your testimony.
Billy Mills 01:50
Thank you. Tamir Rice was a boy of 12 years old who was playing in a park called the Cudell Recreation Center. In 2014, he was playing with a replica of a, he was playing with a toy gun. A person in the park called 911. That person relayed to 911 that he was probably a juvenile and that it was probably a fake gun. The 911 dispatcher did not relay that information to the police officers. Two officers, Frank Garmback, and Timothy Loehmann arrived on the scene. First, they hopped the curb. They hopped the curb that led up to the park at Cudell recreation center, and they drove within feet of the gazebo under which Tamir was playing. Before the car even came to a stop, as it was sliding on the grass, Timothy Loehmann, who is essentially a rookie officer, he had only been on the job for for less than a year, jumped out of his car and within two seconds, fired at Tamir. Tamir’s sister Tajai, shortly, shortly thereafter, who she was playing at Cudell recreation center as well, ran to Tamir’s aid. She was tackled to the ground, prevented from giving any kind of comfort or medical aid to Tamir. The officers did not provide medical aid to Tamir.
The first person to provide medical aid was an FBI agent who just coincidentally happened to be near the scene at that time. The the officers, the officer who drove the vehicle, Frank Garmback was, had been with the Cleveland Police Department for a number of years, and he had received civil rights violations before that had led to at least one civil rights lawsuit against him. However, no significant disciplinary actions were taken against him. Timothy Loehmann was an officer with the Independence police department. And he was essentially forced to resign from that department before he even began his job. His training officer described him as emotionally unstable and incapable of handling a firearm. However, the Cleveland police department did not review the Independence, upon Timothy Lehman’s application to the Cleveland police department. They did not review the independence Police Department’s personnel files, they did not make that request. And so Timothy Loehmann was allowed to get a job with the Cleveland police department, a department he should have never been employed with to begin with.
Samaria Rice 05:10
Can I can I? Can I say that, Billy, I like to say something, just to help help out a little bit. Is that okay, Miss Ocen?
Priscilla Ocen 05:21
Well, it’s perfectly fine for you to add if it would be, if it’s okay with you. I’d like to let Billy finish and then you’ll be right after him, if that’s okay. So you can you can do this quick, go, go ahead and then I’ll go right back to Billy.
Samaria Rice 05:37
I just wanted to sum things up. So I’m Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice. And just to clear a little thing up. Um, there was a few 911 calls called that day, but the particular 911 call Billy is talking about was made by a man that was drinking a beer in the park under the gazebo. Okay, let’s be clear, he was drinking a beer under, under the gazebo at the park. He said that it was a juvenile and it looked like a fake gun. Okay, that was the 911 caller to the dispatch. Somehow, the dispatch did not relay the correct message to the officer, which caused them to react as it was a 20 year old male that had a gun in the park. That’s what the dispatch relayed to the police officer. He she never said it was a juvenile. She never said it was a fake gun. So let’s be clear on that. As, as my daughter was the third person on the scene after the two officers was on that scene. My daughter was the third officer, I mean, the third person on this scene, when she was tackled and handcuffed and placed in the back of the car to watch her brother die. Right there. And as they approached the scene, they never came in through the driveway entrance. They jumped over it. They ran over a hill which jumped the curb and slid and shot my son in less than a second. Okay, the park lights was still on, the brake lights were still on. The window was rolled up, he could have never told Tamir to put your hands up no times. The tape proves that he was shot less than a second, not two, one, less than one second. I just want to help clear some things up. Go ahead, Billy. Go ahead.
Priscilla Ocen 07:56
Thank you, Samaria.
Samaria Rice 07:59
Priscilla Ocen 07:59
And I’ll come to you right after Mr. Mills finishes his remarks, you’ll be able to speak as well. Thank you very much. Mr. Mills.
Billy Mills 08:11
Thank you Ms. Rice for for those clarifications. And you’re correct. One of the one of the most important details is that Timothy Loehmann claims that he ordered three times for Tamir Rice to put his hands up however, from the video, it is clear that that is a fictional interpretation of the events as the events happened so quickly that it would have been impossible for three commands to have been ordered. And as Ms. Rice also alluded to, the windows were rolled up to the vehicle. So there was simply no time for Tamir to react to any orders that were given and were incredulous as to whether any orders were given at all. The fact is, is that Tamir was, was playing in a park and there was no danger to Tamir or to other kids in the park until those officers arrived. And so they, the officers created the danger, they created a danger out of whole cloth, there simply was no emergency for the officers to respond to. And the way in which they responded to it gave themselves no opportunity to.
Let me, let me clarify that the way Frank Garmback approached Tamir was a highly improper police maneuver, and is part of our civil rights case against the city of Cleveland. We hired a number of experts. A couple of them were former police officers, police chiefs, who described the way in which Frank Garmback’s approach of Tamir was a highly improper police maneuver and it essentially created a danger for the rookie officer Timothy Loehmann. Where if they had simply stopped at an intersection, at a distance of 100 feet away and presented orders at that point, the situation would have de-escalated rather quickly. Following the murder of Tamir Rice and the tragedy that occurred, we, that is sort of the first set of failures, right, that is the first set of failures is the, that we’ve described in which the officers were, you know, Timothy Loehmann was hired, he should have never been hired. Frank Garmback had previous civil rights allegations against him. He was never disciplined in any serious way. So following, following the murder of Tamir Rice, the next sort of phase of injustice begins, which is Timothy McGuinty, who was the prosecutor, the chief prosecutor in Cuyahoga County at that time, presented the case against the officers to a grand jury. However, the way in which he presented the case, essentially sabotaged and undermined the case he was presenting and he intended to do so and he later said, he recommended to the grand jury that they not move forward with indicting the officers with, with presenting a true bill to indict the officers.
So that round of things, we were also, we were allowed to present, I believe, two or three of our experts at the grand jury, those experts described being treated in an incredibly hostile way by the prosecutors, including, you know, one of them, pointing a toy pistol at one of our experts and things like that. So it was clear that the prosecution had absolutely no interest in in actually creating any kind of criminal accountability. The officers were allowed at the grand jury to read written statements. This is an important detail from a legal standpoint, because they were allowed to prepare statements, give them to the grand jury. However, the prosecutors did not cross examine the officers on the statements that they made. And so when the grand, the, the officers could have taken the Fifth, however, they chose to give statements to the prosecutor because they have so much discretion, and the American legal system chose not to cross examine the officers even though the officers left themselves vulnerable to that, to such a cross examination. And we believe that the grand jury was also never informed that they could have asked cross examination questions of the officers. So at the grand jury, simply, you know, similar to actually to what just happened, which is, and I’ll get to this, but the Department of Justice more recently announced that their investigation was, had come to a conclusion with a finding that the officers not be charged. And that finding was was announced in between Christmas and New Year’s. I believe. McGuinty’s announcement, and I’m thinking back a number of years now. I believe McGuinty, his announcement was also made in between Christmas and New Years, you know, in a rather inconvenient time and at a time when, you know, perhaps people are more focused on family than the news and rightfully so.
The, sort of, okay, the grand jury process was completely sabotaged and undermined by the prosecution. Then the internal administrative disciplinary process within the Cleveland police department that was supposed to, you know, provide perhaps some measure of accountability, though certainly not the kind that that Ms. Rice and the Rice family has sought, they suspended Frank Garmback for a handful of days. He appealed that decision and they reduced it to something like two or three days. Timothy Loehmann was fired from his job, he was terminated. However, not because he murdered a child, Tamir Rice, he was fired because he lied on his application, which is also in part he the reason he was able to lie on his application is because the failure of due diligence from the Cleveland police department in, in hiring him and not looking into his record at the Independence police department. The department have to, so to go back to the Department of Justice investigation, we met with the Department of Justice. They conducted, and this was during the Obama administration, that was when they were beginning their investigation and building the case. What we know now from right before the most recent election in the United States, there was a whistleblower who came forward from within the Department of Justice who said there are career prosecutors within the Department of Justice who wish to go forward with prosecuting these officers with forming a grand jury to investigate and to potentially go forward with charges against the officers. However, what the the whistleblower revealed is that political appointees made by the Trump administration appear to have sabotaged that attempt for the career prosecutors to go forward with a prosecution.
So the the career prosecutors twice recommended to, to their higher ups that they be allowed to move forward with, with forming a grand jury. And twice that request was essentially ignored for many months and over a year, and then finally denied. And it to be clear, it is routine thing to to sort of rubber stamp those requests when a career prosecutor has spent months and years building a case and building a file, and then makes a serious recommendation to move forward. Particularly when police officers are involved, because it is unfortunately considered in the United States such a, that the police officers are, even though they enforce the law, that they for some reason ought not to be held to the same standards of legal and criminal accountability. So as I mentioned, the Department of Justice did officially provide us with notification that they are, that they have come to a conclusion with their investigation and that they have found that the officers did not violate the federal civil rights standards necessary to go forward. The other key part of that was the potential for obstruction of justice charges to be brought against the officers, again, mostly focused on the idea that Timothy Loehmann created a fictional account of the of the crime, that he, that we believe he committed by by again, essentially claiming that he ordered multiple times for Tamir to raise his hands. However, again, the video proves that that is simply an impossibility. So you know, he continued to repeat that lie even after it came to light that that video of the crime existed.
So, justice has been denied to the Rice family at every single level of government, at the county level, with the prosecutor, the state has failed to intervene. It’s possible for the state to to point appoint an independent prosecutor or to put pressure on the local county prosecutor to to refer the case out. And now the federal government has has failed to hold the officers accountable. We are still trying. There is, the statute of limitations is now run out on obstruction of justice charges at the federal level. It has not run out at the federal level on the use of force charges that we you know, the, the primary charges that we wish to see brought, and there is still about 10 months left at the county level for obstruction of justice charges to be brought against the officers. The other sort of mechanism at play here is that the police union has has a very, you know, they have deep coffers, they have a lot of power and they have protected the officers every step of the way from a legal and PR standpoint. So, again, there’s still time to get justice for Tamir on the obstruction of justice charges at the county level and and potentially the use of force charges at the county level or the state level, if they were to intervene. However, we’ve communicated with the county prosecutor and he has been completely unwilling to move forward with with charges against the officers. There’s a new prosecutor in office largely in part because of the backlash against prosecutor McGuinty for his handling of Tamir’s case. So that is that’s an overview of things. I hope I have left enough time for Ms. Rice and for questions later on. But this is a tragedy that’s been compounded at multiple levels of government. After multiple failures and the Rice family, we do feel, has been failed every step of the way. And so we appreciate the opportunity to present this case to the United Nations and to the people here because it appears that the avenues that ought to be left to us within the United States are, have been stymied every step of the way. Thank you.
Priscilla Ocen 20:22
Thank you. Thank you very much. Commissioners Roberts and Uwaifo. I now present to you our second witness, Ms. Samaria Rice. Ms. Rice, can you please confirm your name?
Samaria Rice 20:37
Priscilla Ocen 20:40
Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Samaria Rice 20:46
Priscilla Ocen 20:49
Thank you very much Ms. Rice, you may begin.
Samaria Rice 20:52
Well, I just wanted to clear some things up from from, from my standpoint, and if anyone had any questions or clarification. As I was, as I was saying that because of my daughter was placed in the back of the car, forced to watch her brother die. They didn’t know if she knew CPR, could give her brother some type of emergency care at the time, they didn’t even know. I couldn’t even attend to her or none of the children, the children because I was given an ultimatum to either stay at the scene of the crime, or leave with my 12 year old in the back of the ambulance. So I choose to leave with my 12 years old riding as a passenger in the front seat, when it was about five or six people in the back with my son and I don’t know what they were doing. I had to leave two children at the scene of a crime, a 14 year old screaming in the back of the car, and my 16 year old surrounded with eight police officers. Timothy Loehmann, should have never been a police officer. His father was a US Marshal. His father was friends with Chief Calvin Williams, of the Cleveland police department. So that’s how he became, somebody has noise on the back end. Okay, so that’s how he became a Cleveland police officer because his father was a US Marshal. And like I said, the chief of police and the father were good friends. So that’s why he was able to slip through the cracks. Nobody checked his HR report. He was coming from Independence, like Billy said, with a horrible record of breaking down on the gun range, crying over his girlfriend, his mother had to come and get him one time, being reckless with his firearm and his bulletproof vest, like it’s detailed, detailed, you know, things in there stating that he would he can never be re, re, rehabilitated to be a police officer, failed the sheriff’s test or failing a police test five times. Like he was a horrible person. He should have never been a police officer. And just like Billy said, he was employed less than a year I say six months, six months and I had a dead son. So he shouldn’t have never been a police officer in nobody’s police department. Frank Garmback was the driver. Previous records he had just assaulted an African American woman, slammed her on her hand. The police paid her not to say anything. I tried to approach her but she wouldn’t talk to me. But we could have built a case against Frank Garmback together but the lady wouldn’t talk to me. So not only do you have Frank Garmback that should never been a police officer or FOT trainer. You have a rookie officer that his father just say, hey, put him on the force and things like that. Um, I just also wanted to clear up some things.
You know, I think Billy kind of covered all of the legal aspect of things but, you know, me and my children had to go in front of the grand jury, which was a very, very scary process. My children, my daughter came out crying. My son was angry. And I was shooken up. They brought us in there separately. And they they when we were in there, at least when I was in there, they were trying to make it seem like it was my fault that Tamir was dead like, like they were trying to blame us and things like that. So, you know, that was just horrific. And when I want to, also, what I want to say about the state of Ohio is that it’s an open carry state. They don’t know if my son had a register to carry, you know, if they thought that he was a 20 year old man, they should have approached it with, like, when somebody call for a felony call, you know, they call it says a man out there with a gun, it’s automatically turned into a felony call. They didn’t approach it like a felony call, because if you approached it, you would have never got that close to my son, because you would have been fearing for your own life, you know, what I’m saying, they never came in the driveway correctly or anything. So they did not approach it as a felony call. When the lady broke, when, when a dispatch said that it’s a 20 year old male with a gun in the park, they didn’t approach it as a felony. You know, that’s, that’s a felony call. So that’s, that’s one of the laws in Ohio, they have to approach it as a felony call, if you get that call, you approach it as a felony call. And then if you thought if you thought it was a grown man in the park, for what, you wasn’t scared, and you didn’t even see if he was registered to carry, you just pulled on them, like the Wild Wild West.
So it was a lot of protocols and procedures broken that day, and I have no accountability for any of it. The DOJ quietly closed the case, stating in a 15 page, document, some of the document, talking about the tape wasn’t clear, it was fuzzy, it was gritty or whatever. Use all of the expert enhancing equipment that you have in America to enhance the video for you can see it crystal clear, because evidently, everybody else seeing that crystal clear across the seven continents, you know, they say my son’s name across the seven continents, I didn’t make that happen, the media made that happen. So I’m — you should enhance the video, to see it clear. Like we have a lot of videos of a lot of these murders committed by law enforcement, and we already know that it has been infiltrated with white supremacy. So they need to use the equipment to see the things crystal clear, and do the right thing by the powers to be. Um, you know, I just wanted to thank you all for giving given me the opportunity as y’all gave a lot of us opportunities to be a part of this. And they’re committing genocide on American citizens in this country. And, you know, it’s just not right. It’s just not right. I was living in a bubble. And before this, six years ago, I was just raising my kids, minding my business, trying to do the right thing, you know, and this has knocked on my door. And this has been my life ever since. You know, I was a stay at home mom, just trying to make sure I focused on my kids, invest in my children. For they won’t have to come from a hard knock life like myself, I come from a very broken home. So I invested in them, and took them. Right now this day, I have three high school graduates, two of my kids was still in school, when Tamir was murdered. So this is not easy to have to be going around the world keeping awareness, keeping people uncomfortable. You know, that’s just what I’m supposed to do. And I think that’s what God want me to do. You know what I’m saying?
So, you know, I just want people to understand that in this country, we are being murdered and they’re committing genocide on American citizen, with police terrorism, and a whole bunch of other stuff in this country like, the Constitution is not working in this country for none of us. I think it needs to be thrown away and redone over. Some things of that nature. You know what I’m saying? It’s just systematic failure after failure after failure after failure, it is seen as it has been designed for American citizens to be this way in this country and it’s not right. And you know, myself. Sorry, go ahead.
Priscilla Ocen 29:52
No, I thought you were concluding. Go ahead, Ms. Rice.
Samaria Rice 29:56
And I know I’m basically about done. I don’t know if anyone have any questions. This I mean, I mean, we could talk about this all day long and, you know, try to figure out what the solution is to these senseless murders that’s stolen on behalf of law enforcement and the government in this country. This is ridiculous.
Priscilla Ocen 30:20
Thank you very much.
Samaria Rice 30:21
Go ahead. You’re welcome.
Priscilla Ocen 30:24
I just wanted to, one, say thank you very much Ms. Rice, for your, you know, just, you know, heart wrenching testimony about the loss of your son, the murder of your son. And on behalf of myself, I want to, again, offer my condolences for your loss. And I just also want to acknowledge how difficult I’m sure it must be to have to relive this. And I appreciate your courage and speaking before this panel today. At this point, I’d like to turn it over to our commissioners. Commissioner Roberts
Samaria Rice 31:01
Priscilla Ocen 31:04
Sure, sure. Go ahead.
Samaria Rice 31:06
I’m sorry. I did want to make, clear some things up just a little bit. On a state level, we have less than a year to file an indictment for obstruction of justice on a state level with pursuing perjury charges on Timothy Loehmann. On the state level. on the federal level, as Billy said that, we’re trying to see if the new administration, um, you know, I’m asking for an appeal, because one thing I can understand where COVID coming in and COVID-19 coming in, how was anything was able to be, you know, how was they able to make a decision with COVID-19 coming in? Because I know for a fact that people didn’t even go to court because of COVID-19, so how was the decision made? You know, I’m asking my attorneys, can we get an appeal because of the COVID-19? And, you know, if if their own administration found probable cause to convene the grand jury, why, why, why are we not there? And if the new administration could come in and make it right? So those are a few things that I would like to see done in Tamir’s case. So thank you.
Priscilla Ocen 32:26
Thank you very much, Ms. Rice. So now I’d like to turn it over to our commissioners, Commissioner Roberts, Commissioner Uwaifo. If you have any questions or comments for our witnesses, Mr. Mills or the mother of Tamir Rice, Samaria Rice?
Sir Clare Roberts 32:49
Thank you, professor. I wanted to inquire. Just a little curious as to why the reaction of the police to Tajai trying to attend? It seems a natural action to her brother who was was shot. Why that sort of fierce reaction? Just curious.
Samaria Rice 33:14
Okay, so let me explain. So Billy’s said that Tamir was not a threat to anybody. And he wasn’t. I have the longer version of what happened that day. My son was out there playing with the BB gun, fake gun, whatever. Other children out there, other children were out there too. They were all playing, passing it around. And everybody had went inside of the Recreation Center, which is right there next to the park. And Tajai also, went inside to use the restroom. Um, somebody said, somebody’s been shot. So Tajai runs out the bathroom and she looks through the door and she’s seen it was her brother. She runs out the door and start you know, she runs towards her brother. And saying, you shot, screaming say you shot my brother, you shot my brother. And they tackled her. She was, you can see it. She rushed straight up to the police car and they tackled her. Two big grown men tackled her and placed her in the back of the police car, and you know, forced to watch Tamir die. I don’t I don’t know why they tackled her like that. I don’t know.
Sir Clare Roberts 34:32
And this one is for Mr. Mills, I wonder, is there such a thing as a private prosecution if the authorities don’t prosecute? Is there such a thing in law of the state?
Samaria Rice 34:49
Priscilla Ocen 34:50
Ms. Rice and Mr. Mills, just just a moment, Miss Rice, before you respond, Mr. Mills. I just want to, I know I should have done this a few minutes ago, but we’re at about 8:37 or 11:37, and we have about 13 more minutes left for this hearing. So I just wanted to note that so that we can be mindful about our questions and our responses. So the question is about private prosecutions. I apologize. Ms. Rice, I think I interrupted you. So if you’d like to respond, and I’ll go to Mr. Mills?
Samaria Rice 35:19
No, I was telling him to respond. No, I’m good.
Priscilla Ocen 35:24
Billy Mills 35:25
Thank you, professor. In terms of private prosecution, there is, there is no mechanism, the prosecutors that exists at the county level, have a lot of discretion and power. So if there’s any, if there’s going to be any criminal accountability, at the local level, based on state laws, it needs to go through the local county prosecutors. Again, the Federal Department of Justice can also be involved with criminal accountability. In terms of any kind of private prosecution, that does exist on the civil side of things, it would not create criminal accountability. We did file and settle a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and against the officers. So that provided some measure of financial incentive, I think you would say to the Cleveland police department and to the city of Cleveland to reform their police department, however, it is a you know, in our view, a much less direct form of accountability than criminal accountability. That, you know, the the punishment of the settlement was not felt directly by the officers, it was truly felt by the taxpayers and by the people who design budgets within the city of Cleveland, but not by the officers themselves.
Sir Clare Roberts 36:58
This is, I just have one. Apart from the financial settlement. What other type of settlement would you want to see? Not just for the Rice family, and I want to say how sorry I am that this, they had to experience such an awful thing, and my condolences. But, for instance, I was thinking of things like memorialization, some sort of — something to say that we remember the incidents, it doesn’t happen again, that it doesn’t just go away. You know, perhaps an apology, a public apology and so that somehow or the other these incidents are not seen as routine and they no longer… What are the types of measures you think might be useful to arrest this sort of incident?
Samaria Rice 38:20
Okay, let me answer a little bit, Billy. Well, in our settlement, we were able to, you know, get a part of Cudell recreation center and do a memorial over there for Tamir, which implements a plaque implemented in the ground, a marble and stone, and two trees planted over there. And a butterfly garden was made over there in memory of Tajai, where she was tackled, and handcuffed. So we were able to put some things in place for people to remember Tamiir and things like that. I also have a building that I purchased in 2018, turning it into Tamir Rice Afro-central Cultural Center, where we will be providing after school programming, free after school programming for the community. And that was my way of giving back as well. So I have been building Tamir’s legacy up with the help of the community and the world support. And just to keep, you know, Tamir’s legacy and his name alive. You know, I have ownership of the gazebo, which was where Tamir was murdered at, and right now it’s in Chicago, in Stony Island. Theaster Gates was instrumental in getting it for me and just storing it and refurbishing it and you know, keeping everything intact for me. So, right now it’s like I said, it’s in Chicago, at the art bank, you could kind of Google, go to art bank and you will see the gazebo out there. So we’re just, you know, I’m just trying to find a permanent place if it’s not gonna stay in Chicago, we may try to talk to Bryan Stevenson and Montgomery for the lynching museum, for the gazebo could go down there, so it can be preserved, and it’s part of history. It’s where my son was murdered. That is the last memory I have of him, and things like that. So it’s some things that’s happening.
But that’s, that’s not enough. You know, we need to make examples, out of police departments, law enforcement, governments, that think it’s okay to kill our kids, and go in the house and eat a ham sandwich. It’s not okay, because my life is forever altered, my children’s life was forever altered, my family is destroyed, because of the murder of my son. You know, my family is destroyed. You know, the little bit of family that I had left, you know, cuz I come from a broken home, is destroyed. Now, I’m here and my kids there. And I want an indictment. I want an indictment on Timothy Loehmann. I wish Frank Garmback can’t get one too, because he had no business driving that car like that. And he was the, he was the training officer. So they both need to be in jail for the murder of my son. There’s no ifs, ands and buts about it. Everybody’s seen it across the country, and seven continents. And you know, you know, I’m not gonna let up. So we have some things in place. Like Billy said, we talked to the prosecutor. He’s not willing to do anything. But hopefully our you know, hopefully, one of my other attorneys will have a conversation with the prosecutor again, to, you know, create the pressure and, you know, with the DOJ, and, you know, some Congress help, and hopefully your help. We want to create the pressure for the state of Ohio to put an indictment on Timothy Loehmann. For, for the murder of my son. Yeah, and a whole bunch of other stuff y’all have to excuse me, it’s just overwhelming. It’s never easy to talk about this. You know, and, you know, and I’m doing the best I can these days.
Priscilla Ocen 41:14
Thank You. Your, your testimony has been just amazingly powerful. And we appreciate you talking with us this morning. Commissioners, we are at about 8:45 California time about 11:45 East Coast time. We have about five minutes remaining for this hearing. Do you have any remaining questions for our witnesses?
Hannibal Uwaifo 42:53
Thank you very much. I commiserate with you. On behalf of the African Bar Association. I am a bit worried at the news. The reoccurring incidents of police brutality, police unjustified shootings. And then of course, the prevention of aid. They won’t provide aid to victims who have deliberately or accidentally shot and they wouldn’t allow any other person to provide aid. Is this legal in the United States or is it criminal? Criminal charges? Even if the police have managed to justify the criminal acts committed. But what about this prevention, avoiding which, stopping the sister from assisting her teenage brother who has been shot? Is it criminal? Are there charges? Had the police not also? Like the second question I want to ask. I get this very painful situation. I’m so sorry. Once again, Mrs. Rice. After this painful situation, after the rigmarole of the grand jury, and all what, what is the crime of child? What crime is this saying that this child committed? Because the act of justice demands that you’re not going to prosecute people for what they’ve done, if you are going to justify police action, you must tell us and you must tell the victims and their family what crime has been committed. Because I’ve read through the length and breadth of this, haven’t seen where it states or any of the particular authorities have said, this child has committed a crime. So people kill people, kill a child and get away with it. The third question I want to ask, are there no standards of dealing with children in the United States? So a police officer hears about a supposed crime, you enter into the place, no matter what you think, whether you are told it is a 40 year old man, no, my God, and you arrive at a place and you open fire, and you kill the child. I’m beginning to wonder at this, and the life of mothers that pass through very flawed legal system that we called laws that have become a very big hindrance to the emancipation of the United States, or at the cause, which the United States set up. Thank you. Well, thank you.
Priscilla Ocen 46:14
So so. So there are a number of questions, and we have just a few more minutes. So I just want to keep that in mind. So one of the questions is, you know, what was the alleged crime that Tamir Rice was supposed to have committed to is are there any standards for dealing with the child? And then three, is it criminal in and of itself in terms of how the process unfolded? I think the three questions, and obviously we don’t have enough time to get to all of them. So perhaps each of you can pick one or two of those questions to respond to.
Samaria Rice 46:48
Well, Tamir was not never charged with a crime. At first, before the video came out. They wanted to try to say that he was out there menacing, meaning he was out there scaring the people and everything. But that’s not true, because I have a video of what happened that day. And he was talking to people walking back and forth from the rapid station with the groceries, talking back and forth to the people, the grown people that’s walking, because across the street from the park area is a rapid like public transportation. So you have to walk through the park, and people got to walk through the park. So he was never out there menacing, there was no charge. And according to one of the attorneys, if a child was 12 years and under, the officer was supposed to be charged with aggravated murder, so I don’t, I don’t know what happened. Maybe Billy can help clear that part up. I don’t know. Billy,
Billy Mills 47:43
There’s no, there’s no good way to make sense of it. Yes, the officers should have been tried. The prosecutors have so much discretion and power that regard, even if a crime is viol- even if a law is violated, the prosecutors still need to be willing to move forward with the charges. So and to Commissioner Uwaifo, I really appreciate your impassioned comments. I do want to, I know that race is one aspect of the the Commission’s inquiry, or a major aspect of it, or the primary aspect of it. So I do think there are some difficult questions we need to ask, would the 911 caller have ever called if Tamir was a white child playing in the park? Would the 911 operator have conveyed more information to the officers, such that Tamir was probably a juvenile playing with what is probably a toy gun. Would the officers have approached differently if Tamir was a white child playing in the park? I think these are difficult question. And and then finally, on the legal end of things to bring it back round, would the county prosecutor and the federal prosecution have gone forward, if Tamir was a white child? Would those prosecutions have been more likely to have gone forward because of, you know, the perception that a white child deserves more, would deserve, that the officers would deserve greater criminal accountability for murdering a white child than a Black child? These are very difficult questions, but I think they need to be asked and explored.
Samaria Rice 49:27
Yes, and Tamir’s, he was violated. His human rights and civil rights was violated. And you know, that needs to be asked for, absolutely.
Priscilla Ocen 49:40
Thank you very much. Mr. Mills, attorney Mills. Thank you very much, Ms. Rice, for continuing to witness for your son. And thank you very much for participating in this commission of inquiry. This concludes the hearing of the case of Tamir Rice. We will resume hearings tomorrow. Again, thank you very much to our commissioners Commissioner Sir Clare Roberts, Commissioner Hannibal Uwaifo who thank you very much for your attentive questions and concern about the matter of police violence against people of African descent in the United States. And with that, we will conclude our hearing. Thank you
Samaria Rice 50:23
And police terrorism.
Priscilla Ocen 50:24
Yep. Thank you.
Billy Mills 50:25
Thank you, everyone.