On the heels of the grand jury decision to not indict the police responsible for killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice, prosecutors have released a photo that gives understanding into what may have persuaded the jury in the decision.
The image shows two firearms, one a real Colt M1911 handgun and the other a copy of the toy gun Rice pulled out of his waistband and pointed at Cleveland, Ohio, police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback the day Rice was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 2014, reports Daily Mail.
The gun on the top left is the same as the gun Rice was playing with that day, but the orange cap on the end of the barrel that would have marked it as a toy was missing. Prosecutors say that without the cap, it was “functionally identical” to a real gun.
“Even to a trained eye, careful side-by-side comparison is required to notice the differences,” the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's report stated.
Loehmann said he was afraid the airsoft gun Rice was holding was real and led him to shoot the 12-year-old dead in a park.
“During the tense, uncertain and rapidly unfolding moments of an actual encounter, the officer facing a suspect carrying what appears to be a gun often does not know if it is real or fake. Worse, the officer will know that if he guesses wrong, that may be the end of his life,” the report released on Dec. 28 added.
Prosecutors say the toy's container cautioned that removing the orange tip “is dangerous, may cause confusion, may be mistaken to be a real firearm by law enforcement officers or others and may be a crime.” Rice borrowed the gun from a friend and possibly did not read the warning.
Prosecutors say at least two people warned Rice about playing with the toy gun in a public place on the day he was killed.
The bystander who called authorities seemed to have been worried after seeing Rice brandishing a toy gun in a public park. The caller told the dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake,” a detail not given to the officers sent to the scene, reports Daily Mail.
“The officers, who had no idea that the gun was fake or that Tamir was only 12, thought he was going to pull the gun out at them,” the report says.
Rice was shot within 10 seconds of Loehmann getting out of the car.
Rice died in surgery a day after being shot. His family had demanded answers about why the case has taken so long to be resolved.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said he suggested that no criminal charges be filed against the police, according to ABC news. After the grand jury "heard all the evidence and the applicable law, they were told our recommendation," the prosecutor's office said. "But they made the final decision."
After the decision was read, Rice's family voiced their frustration that Loehmann and his senior partner Garmback would not face criminal charges relating to the boy's death.
"All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade," a family statement said.
Numerous celebrities have also spoken out on the case, including singer John Legend, who said he thought the grand jury's decision not to indict a “f------ travesty.” Adding, “I will never expect the criminal justice system to bring any justice for victims of police murder.”