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Video shows that Tamir Rice’s sister needed compassion, not cuffs

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Last Friday, I wrote about the extended surveillance video that captured the killing of Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park by police officers. In that post, I wrote, “The video has no sound, but it is not hard to imagine her screaming her brother’s name and pleading for answers about what happened.” Well, I didn’t have to imagine for long.

A Twitter follower sent me a link to an article that included another video obtained by NBCNews.com. What the 95 seconds captured by Treyvon Osborn on his cellphone Nov. 22 lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in sound. The shrieking alone will tear your heart out.

You killed my baby brother!
You killed my baby brother!

After watching the two videos over and over again, I’ve been able to determine that the action of the Osborn video, which NBCNews.com has had on its site since Nov. 24, happens around the 7:50 mark on the extended video that was released last week thanks to the persistence of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

A key moment happens at about 8:07 when a group of people walking along the sidewalk crosses paths with what look to be paramedics. This happens at 0:17 on the Osborn video. The timing is important because what you’re hearing is coming from Tamir’s sister in back of the patrol car. At about the 13-second mark on that video, she is asked by one in the group passing the car, “He alive? He cool?” To which she screams, “No! He’s dead!” And for the remainder of the Osborn clip you can hear Tamir’s sister shrieking repeatedly for all to hear, “They killed my brother!”

I have no doubt she was screaming this as she ran up to the scene. Her grief was met by a gruff knock-down, tussle and then handcuffing by police. “She was wild and out of control,” Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Steve Loomis said in an article on Cleveland.com. “She is understandably upset, but we have to take control of that scene.”

Loomis said in hindsight the officers’ actions might seem “insensitive” to some, Garmback and Loehmann had no way of knowing the girl was Tamir’s sister, and that they were trying to preserve evidence.
“It was a very chaotic scene, as they all are,” Loomis said. “We want there to be a transparent and fair investigation, and part of that includes maintaining the integrity of the shooting scene.”

What chaos? There’s a lot of standing around happening in both videos. And it strains credulity to think Tamir’s sister wasn’t screaming some form of “You killed my baby brother” as she ran up to the scene.

“Insensitive” doesn’t even come close to describing what folks can see and hear for themselves. What she deserved was compassion, not cuffs. Preserving evidence and maintaining integrity of the scene is understandable. What isn’t is the callous disregard shown Tamir in death or his sister in her grief.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

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