The mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot dead by a police officer while holding a toy gun, revealed that her 14-year-old daughter was also tackled to the ground by police in the incident, handcuffed and put in the back seat of a police car.
"I asked the police to let my daughter go and they wouldn't at that time and I asked them, 'What's going on?' But they wasn't telling me anything, just saying, 'Calm down, calm down,'" Samaria Rice said at a news conference on Monday, according to ABC News.
"I knew she was crying for me but I couldn't see her hands," Rice said of her daughter, who was inside the recreational center at the time of the shooting. The mother noted that she had to decide whether to stay with her injured son or arrested daughter, but decided to go with Tamir.
The family of the slain 12-year-old boy said it has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, who are alleged to have acted "unreasonably, negligently [and] recklessly" when Loehmann gunned down Rice, who was playing with a pellet gun on Nov. 22.
The lawsuit states that the officers also failed to help Rice for more than four minutes as he lay on the ground bleeding. He died from the injuries at a hospital on Nov. 23.
"Had the defendant officers properly approached Tamir and properly investigated his possession of the replica gun they would undoubtedly have determined ... that the gun was fake and that the subject was a juvenile," noted the suit.
Samaria Rice recalled the shooting incident and admitted that when other children from the playground came to tell her that Tamir had been shot, she did not believe the news at first.
"I really thought they was playing, like joking around, and I saw the seriousness in their face," she said of the boys who told her what had happened.
"I went charging and yelling and everything at the police because they wouldn't let me through," she continued. "They made me sit in the front of the ambulance truck like I was a passenger."
Racial tensions are high in America following two recent, separate cases, where a St. Louis grand jury cleared police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown; and another jury decided not to indict the white police officer involved in the chocking death of black man Eric Garner earlier this year in New York.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is married to an African-American woman and has a biracial son, argued in an interview on Sunday that black children face more danger from police than white children.
"It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country," de Blasio said.
He continued, "And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, 'Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don't move suddenly, don't reach for your cell phone,' because we knew, sadly, there's a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color."
De Blasio's comments were criticized by Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, who said that such remarks are "moronic" and "hypocritical."
"He has a security detail of New York City police officers assigned to protect his family. And yet he's making statements that his son shouldn't feel safe with New York City cops," Mullins responded.