CHICAGO — The gazebo that a Cleveland police officer stood under as he shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice is now on display on the South Side of Chicago.
“It’s an incredible moment to all come together and remember a life, an important life,” said Tregg Duerson of the Rebuild Foundation, which helped reconstruct it.
Responding to a call of a child with a gun, a Cleveland police officer exited his squad car and stood under the gazebo as he mistakenly shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun, in November 2014.
After his death made national headlines, the city of Cleveland wanted the gazebo, a reminder of his case, to be destroyed. But after a fight to save it, the gazebo was disassembled in Cleveland and its steel beams made their way five hours west to the Stony Island Arts Bank in South Shore.
“It’s a difficult things to move physical objects… but it matters, physical objects matter,” said Billy Joe Mills, an attorney for Tamir Rice’s family.
The museum hopes the gazebo will be a place to meet and reflect, serving as a a landmark symbolizing police brutality and the experience of black people in America.
“It gives the black community and America as a whole the opportunity to come around it remember Tamir’s life, heal and a have a dialogue around police brutality,” Duerson said.
Tamir Rice’s mom was reportedly in Chicago for a private unveiling of the gazebo, and witnesses say she was emotionally struck by the installation.
It’s unclear whether the gazebo will be permanently on display in Chicago, but it could remain outside as its built to withstand winters like those in Chicago.