Live

Watch CBSN Live

Uncle of 12-year-old shot by Cleveland cop calls for changes in police training

CLEVELAND -- The uncle of a 12-year-old boy who had a pellet gun when he was shot by a Cleveland police officer is telling mourners that they must be advocates for change through peaceful protest.

Tamir Rice's uncle said at a memorial service on Wednesday that police need to change how they train officers and take a closer look at how they communicate with dispatchers. He says that the community needs to become Tamir's voice because he can no longer speak for himself.

Video shows Cleveland officers shooting boy holding toy gun

Police say a rookie officer who shot Tamir on Nov. 22 believed the boy had a real firearm. He actually had an airsoft gun, which shoots nonlethal plastic pellets.

A grand jury will consider whether charges are merited.

The shooting of Rice by 26-year-old officer Tim Loehmann outside a recreation center sparked protests in the area. Surveillance video shows Loehmann firing within two seconds of a patrol car stopping near Rice, who reached in his waistband for what turned out to be a pellet gun.

Loehmann's father, Fred Loehmann, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the officer didn't know how young the boy was.

He recalled his son saying: "I was right there and he went for the gun. I had no choice."

CBS affiliate WOIO reports that Loehmann's former supervisors had concerns about the officer when he worked for the City of Independence Police force. A letter in his file says that Loehmann, was "distracted and weepy" and couldn't follow orders during firearms training.

View CBS News In