The estate of a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot while carrying a toy gun in Cleveland has filed a lawsuit against the police officers who were involved in the incident, as well as the city, court documents show.
The eight-page complaint, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, claims that Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback used excessive and unnecessary force against Tamir Rice, and caused his wrongful death.
Tamir was shot on Nov. 22 at a local park in Cleveland, when Loehmann and Garmback responded to a 911 call about a person pointing a gun. The caller noted that the firearm was “probably fake,” but that message wasn’t passed on to police, and the gun’s orange safety cap was missing.
Loehmann shot Tamir in the stomach, and the boy died early the next day. He lay on the ground without medical treatment for at least four minutes after the shooting, the lawsuit claims.
“As a direct and proximate result of the conduct of Defendants City of Cleveland, Loehmann, and Garmback, Tamir Rice suffered terror and fear as Defendants Loehmann and Garmback approached him with their cruiser and their guns,” the court filing reads. “Tamir Rice also suffered physical injury, pain, torture, emotional and psychological trauma, and eventually died as a result of the use of force and failure to provide adequate medical care described above.”
Surveillance footage released last month shows the 26-year-old Loehmann, a rookie officer who struggled at another department earlier in his law enforcement career, jumping out of a cruiser and shooting Rice within seconds of arriving on the scene.
“Young boys playing with replica guns are commonplace in America and police are expected to approach them safely if an investigation is warranted,” the complaint reads, “not shoot them dead within two seconds.”
The lawsuit lists Elizabeth Goodwin, administrator for the estate, as the plaintiff. Attorneys listed on the court filings did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. A spokesman for the city of Cleveland also did not immediately respond to a telephone message and an e-mail.