As with many police killings this year, outrage was sparked by what was caught on camera. Grainy surveillance video, which circulated widely online, showed Officer Garmback pulling the police cruiser within a few feet of Tamir and Officer Loehmann stepping out of the car and almost immediately firing his gun. Tamir died hours later.
Tamir Rice and the Value of Life by Charles M. Blow, Op Ed, New York Times
One of the officers, Timothy Loehmann, shot Tamir within “1.5 to two seconds” of arriving at the park. Two seconds. So quickly. In the blink of an eye. And yet, according to The Associated Press, the officers say that they ordered Tamir to put his hands up three times before he was shot. According to the original statement released by the police, “The suspect did not comply with the officers’ orders and reached to his waistband for the gun.”
All in one and a half to two seconds? Really. Take a moment and time yourself giving three commands, imagining a response from Tamir and making the decision to shoot. Maybe it can be done in less than two seconds. But to my mind, it strains credulity.
Tamir’s 14-year-old sister, Tajai, was in a nearby recreation center when she said she heard a gunshot. She said someone told her that a boy had been shot — her own brother.
She raced to his aid, but as the video shows, one of the officers tackled her, handcuffed her and stuffed her into the back of the police cruiser, just feet away from where her brother was bleeding out onto the snow-dappled ground.
She could not reach him. Her arms could not cradle his body and plead for him to hang on. Her hands could not stroke his cheek, and she could not whisper hopefully, “It’s going to be O.K.” Her eyes could not gaze into his and say what sisters are able to say without saying anything: “I love you.”
Tamir deserved that, but the officers made sure that she could not provide it. Four minutes passed without anyone offering the boy aid or comfort. Four long minutes he lay there, still alive, with the burn of a bullet in his abdomen.
Not only is the shooting itself disturbing, but the failure to render aid is unconscionable. And this didn’t just happen in Tamir’s case. The same apathy about the immediate administration of care is echoed in other cases where black boys and men lay dying.
From a public Facebook post from December 28 2015:
An editor emailed me just a few minutes ago to ask if I'd write a 1200-word reaction to the Tamir Rice decision. I said no.
I'm tired of explaining the same racist shit over and over again knowing that more of us are going to die a death-by-scared cop. Tired of reaching into the archives to show historical precedence for the current remixed ideologies and 400-year-old sadism.
Sometimes I feel like being able to explain this madness gets coopted into the racial spectacle: Kill another black person. People get angry and march. Watch the funeral on TV. No indictment. More anger and marching.
"Let's find a negro academic or journalist or culture critic who can help us decipher all this inelegant rage because we are totally ignorant about structural racism and the psychosis of white supremacy. We're colorblind after all. Oh, isn't she/he so articulate? We got 400,000 hits on that piece. Here's $300, we hope you'll write for us again.... the next time one of you blacks gets killed."
And then, for the next two weeks the trolls call her a "black nigga hoe bitch," and they say "what about black-on-black crime?" and "check these statistics on black crime that I cut and pasted from whitesplaining.com. Stop whining. And go back to Africa.... 'Doctor.'" They kill some of us and they love to argue with those of us who survive, like its some kind of fetish. Like our lives and our fear are a damn game!
Like watching Black death on viral videos, seeing those of us who carry pens flip our souls inside out on the page to explain all this evil while slowly dying inside from the anger, loss, and grief, is another form of titillation for corporate media, even the ones that proclaim to be liberal. And the comment sections under our pieces become a fiber-optic altar where the scourge of white America can ejaculate the worst parts of their souls onto.
Not this time. I will NOT be your intellectual Mammy. I's real tired.