It took a Cleveland Police officer only a few seconds to decide to shoot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. It took the Cleveland officials nearly three years to fire the officer who killed him.
Rice was fatally shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014 as the preteen was playing with a pellet gun near a recreation center. The officers later said they mistook the toy for a real gun. This past Tuesday, officials announced Loehmann would be terminated and that Frank Garmback, the officer who was driving the patrol car at the time, would be suspended for 10 days beginning Wednesday.
Back in 2014, when Youth Radio students learned of Rice’s death, they had many questions. They were struck by how many times officers had mistaken objects for guns, and how many times the victims seemed to be young people of color. Young black males are 21 times more likely than white males to be shot dead by a police officer, according to a ProPublica analysis called Deadly Force in Black and White. Inspired byRice’s case, we created “Triggered: Objects Mistaken For Guns,” an interactive project highlighting the varying circumstances and outcomes around these stories. Click on the image below to explore the interactive.
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