An Ohio judge said that he’s found probable cause to proceed with charging Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann with a variety murder charges related to the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Loehmann could potentially face murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide charges.
As reported by The Guardian, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine said there is a pathway to charge Loehmann in the 2014 shooting. The judge also said there might be cause to charge officer Frank Garmback, who was there when Rice was gunned down by his partner. Rice was killed by Loehmann after he was approached holding a pellet gun in a park last November. However, Judge Adrine’s statements were countered by the county prosecutor who wants to go in another direction.
From the Guardian:
The judge’s recommendation, however, was brushed aside by Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, who pledged to proceed as planned with having a grand jury decide on whether the officers should be charged.
“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury,” McGinty said in a statement. “That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.”
In a 10-page order, Judge Adrine wrote that after viewing surveillance video, which shows Tamir being shot dead within two seconds of Loehmann’s arrival, he was “still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly”.
The judge said Tamir was given “little if any time” to respond to any commands from the officers, that his arms were not raised, and that he made no “furtive movement”. Adrine wrote: “Literally, the entire encounter is over in an instant.”
It should be noted that Judge Adrine cannot officially bring charges against the officers and cautioned that he’s simply an advisor in the developing case. However, this announcement bodes well for the Rice family as they continue to seek justice in the case.
A law in Ohio ignited a an appeal made by community activists and the family to the judge to review and prosecute the case, but Judge Adrine will have to defer to Cleveland or Cuyahoga County prosecutors.
Photo: Facebook/Rice Family