Let’s Talk About It: Our Friend Tamir Rice

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Yesterday social media and news platforms erupted in outrage, frustration and confusion followed by the hashtag #TamirRice and the decision of an Ohio grand jury to not return an indictment in the Nov. 23, 2014 police shooting death of Tamir.

While many fight to find ease in Tamir’s story and a resolution to injustice, we’ve created an outlet for our socially-conscience audience to share their thoughts, but most importantly, try to find the #SweetTruth in Tamir’s story, life and what we as citizens can do to work toward eliminating the chance of another young, innocent life ripped from its future.

Who was Tamir Rice?

He was a Lego-loving 12 year old who played sports with swagger and loved cartoons. Tamir spent much of his time in extracurricular activities—challenging those older than him in a game of basketball, football, soccer or swimming laps. 

In an interview published at Cleveland.com, Tamir’s grandmother, Mildretta Warner-Davis, shared that Tamir was not the timid type but one that “would have challenged LeBron James,” she said.

Tamir is the younger brother of 14-year-old sister, Tajai, who was forcefully detained after trying to hold her brother’s wounded body. Our friend Tamir was a Curious George, Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video game fanatic.

Despite his young age, he was versatile–nurturing a variety of passions. Some may even call him an athlete with a Picasso flair, as he enjoyed arts and crafts, even sculpting or embroidering his mother gifts on occasion.

Will there Be Peace and Justice?

A question that fills minds and many conversations. Tamir’s family attorney, Jonathan Abady, told CNN that Tamir’s family still holds onto some degree of hope for justice at the federal level. Two weeks after Tamir’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released investigation findings that detailed Cleveland PD’s use of excessive force. The DOJ and the city entered into a court-appointed agreement to address these findings and create widespread reform and changes in the police department. The DOJ released a statement yesterday that they have not given up on seeking justice in Tamir’s wrongful death:

“We will continue our independent review of this matter, assess all available materials and determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws.”

The family is also pursuing a federal human rights lawsuit.

We’ve also seen act of kindness toward Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice.  The small silver lining to her unfathomable reality came from family and compassionate Ohio residents who made it possible for her to leave a homeless shelter and move into a brand new home. Cleveland’s ABC5 reported that she moved to this shelter because she was unable to live so close to the scene of her son’s shooting.

Critics say this was another incident of police and law enforcement acting too fast, which has become all to familiar and discouraging for many. Do you agree? We want to hear from you! Is the DOJ doing enough? Are we doing enough? Do you think there will be any justice served in this case? Share your thoughts with #SweetCandorTV.

Kelli Bennett is a freelance writer and editor recognized for her feature writing, business reporting, personal/business profiles and social media skills. She combines her passions for service and creativity with her inquisitive personality and writing ability. This equation ignited a yearning in Kelli to be the “Voice for the Unheard.” The excitement Kelli felt while writing her first feature remains with each story she writes.  She has been privileged to cover several stories for the Indiana Minority Business Magazine, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, Ball Bearings Magazine and numerous other publications. Kelli received her Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in Journalism from Ball State University in May 2013. When not investigating or constructing intriguing story angles, Kelli finds escape in music and serving her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Kelli will never neglect her first love: music. She has been honored to sing for the National Department of Defense and other community organizations.

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