Tamir Rice’s Mom: “It’s An Empty Feeling Of Loss”

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[Tamir Rice]
She rode in the ambulance with Tamir and held his hand in the hospital room. Investigators told her to stop touching him because his body was evidence.
Photo: YouTube

Tamir Rice would've turned 18 today--if he hadn't been gunned down by killer-cop Timothy Loehmann.

On the worst day of her life, Samaria Rice made lunch — turkey sandwiches and fruit cups — for her two youngest children.

She gave her son Tamir and daughter Tajai money to walk to the neighborhood store for snacks.

Rice, a mother of four, got dressed to go to the grocery store. She planned to buy the ingredients to cook lasagna that night.

Then a knock came at her door. A group of neighborhood children were saying 12-year-old Tamir had been shot by a police officer at the park across the street.

“I told them boys they didn’t know what they were talking about,” Rice said.

At the park, at least 10 police officers were surrounding Tamir, who was lying on the ground. They stopped her from going near her son. She could see his body only through their legs.

She rode in the ambulance with Tamir and held his hand in the hospital room. Investigators told her to stop touching him because his body was evidence.

The next day brought devastating words from the hospital staff: Her son wouldn’t make it. Tamir was dead.

For Rice, moving on from Tamir’s death six years ago has been painful.

Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t as joyful. Mother’s Day isn’t the same. And his birthday, June 25, is tough. She celebrates it each year with community events and fundraisers.

“You don’t get over nothing like this,” Rice said. “It’s an empty feeling of loss when you don’t have your puzzle complete.”

Rice relies on comfort from her three other children and four grandchildren to press forward. She still has Tamir’s favorite teddy bears, his drawings and the Hot Wheels cars he loved. She wants her son to be remembered as a happy child with an infectious smile who liked to eat chicken nuggets, play video games, go swimming and ride his bike around the neighborhood.

“People ask me all the time, ‘How are you standing up?’ ” Rice said. “I’m telling them I do know that it’s through the grace of God.”

Since her son’s death, she has traveled to colleges to speak out against police brutality. The justice system, she said, has a different set of rules for Black people.

She couldn’t eat or sleep after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was killed by two white men as he jogged through a Georgia neighborhood, and George Floyd, who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The death of Breonna Taylor — a 26-year-old Black woman shot at least eight times by Louisville police who entered her apartment — took her to a “dark place.”

For the rest of this Akron Beacon story log on to: https://www.beaconjournal.com/news/20200624/painfully-moving-on-tamir-ri...

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