“America has taken away from me what my son would look like as a teenager, a young man, and even an old man.”
CLEVELAND — On June 25, Tamir Rice would have turned 19 years old.
“He would have been delightful,” his mother Samaria Rice told 3News anchor and managing editor Russ Mitchell during a one-on-one interview. “He was so pleasant to be around with a smile to light up the room. He loved to make people laugh.”
Tamir Rice was shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann on November 22, 2014 after police received a call about a “guy with a pistol” outside of Cleveland’s Cudell Recreation Center. Rice had been playing with a pellet gun and officers said that they did not know that he was a juvenile and that he was playing with a toy before he was fatally shot twice.
Samaria Rice sat down with Russ Mitchell for their interview at Cudell Recreation Center. “This place is sacred and I want people to respect it,” she said. “I love coming over here for the most part.”
Rice says she still misses Tamir greatly. “It’s a lot to deal with. America has taken away from me what my son would look like as a teenager, a young man, and even an old man. I’ve only got the vision of him being 12. That’s a lot of pain I deal with on a daily basis as I see other children growing. It’s hard sometimes, it’s very hard,” she added.
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In 2015, an Ohio grand jury declined to charge Loehmann. He was fired in 2016 after an investigation showed that he lied on his application to become a police officer. Earlier this year, an appeals court upheld Loehmann’s firing. No member of the Cleveland Division of Police was ever charged as a result of Rice’s death.
With the assistance of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association, Loehmann has filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court to get his job back. On Monday, attorneys representing Samaria Rice and her family filed an amicus brief to try to stop Loehmann from being reinstated.
“I’m appalled. Even if it’s the union’s (CPPA) money, why would you keep wasting your money on this bad officer? I don’t think he should ever get a job in law enforcement again because he lied on his application,” Rice told Mitchell. “So how can you trust him?”
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When asked what she would say to Loehmann if she could talk to him, Rice replied, “I would let him know his career is over in law enforcement and he should find something else to do.”
On Monday evening, Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association attorney Henry Hilow responded to the brief filed by Rice’s attorneys. Hillow told 3News: “The issues raised in the amicus brief are not the issues being considered by the Supreme Court.”
Last month, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, and House members Tim Ryan, Joyce Beatty and Marcy Kaptur asked the U.S. Department of Justice to re-open the investigation into Tamir Rice’s death, which had been initially opened by the Justice Department under the Obama administration, but abruptly closed during the final weeks of the Trump administration.
You can watch the full interview with Samaria Rice and Russ Mitchell below: