Residents voice concerns in community forum on police involved shooting

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CLEVELAND- Cleveland city leaders answered questions and concerns from residents at a community forum Tuesday night.

People packed the Cudell Recreation Center on the city's west side to address the police-involved shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice Saturday evening.

"Whenever these things happen, it's very intense, very emotional and it gets very personal, particularly when it becomes a child," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

"I just want to voice my feelings as a member of the community to the police that we don't want you to shoot our black sons. We don't," said one resident in attendance.

Hours after the parents of 12-year-old Tamir Rice asked for the release of the officer-involved shooting video, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams announced that the video will be released at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the request of the parents.

Chief Williams said they had been holding off releasing it out of respect for the family.

Police were called to the playground area of the Cudell ‎Recreation Center Saturday afternoon, after a 911 caller reported a male was waving a handgun. The caller said the handgun may be fake, but he didn’t know.

Police say the officer was not told beforehand that it was fake.

The gun was an air-soft gun but looked like a handgun and had the orange safety tab removed.

Officials have said the officers told them right after the incident ‎that Tamir Rice did not comply when officers told him to put his hands up; instead, they said he reached for his waistband and grabbed the fake gun. Rice was shot twice in the stomach area and died Sunday.

His parents, Samaria Rice and Leonard Warner, released the following statement:

"We respectfully request that Mayor Frank Jackson and the City of Cleveland Division of Police release the complete video of the incident involving our son, Tamir E. Rice, and two unnamed patrol officers on Nov. 22, 2014.

The news of Tamir’s death has devastated our family. Tamir was a bright young man who had his whole life ahead of him. This is a tragedy in our eyes.

He was a loving brother. He was a grandson. He was a nephew and cousin. His favorite sport was basketball. Tamir often visited the Cudell Recreation Center to play with friends. Most of all, he enjoyed being around people. Everyone loved him. 

The holiday season begins this week. Instead of the love, fellowship and joy the season brings to many families, we will be mourning the loss of Tamir. We looked forward to spending Thanksgiving with Tamir as a family. His mother’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. Now, she won’t have the opportunity to share it with her son. We feel he did not deserve to be taken away from us.

While we request the release of the complete video, we also ask for the media to give our family privacy as we continue to grieve and learn about what happened. We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son’s life must be made public.

It is our prayer and request for citizens in the City of Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio to remain calm at this time. We ask for the public to demonstrate peacefully.

Though the hurt our family feels is too painful for words to describe, we still have faith in the justice system. We thank the community for their prayers, encouragement and support. It has helped us during this difficult time.

We will release information about Tamir’s funeral in the days to come. We have no further comment at this time."

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