The shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of the Cleveland Police Department has ended with the family of the boy unable to seek justice for the slaying. Monday afternoon (Dec. 28), the county prosecutor in the case suggested to the grand jury that the officers who shot and killed Rice acted under the law despite the protests of others.
The Washington Post reports:
After more than a year of investigation, a grand jury declined to bring charges against either of the two police officers involved in the fatal November 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy weapon in a Cleveland park.
In announcing the decision here Monday, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said he did not recommend that the grand jury bring any charges. McGinty added that he believes both of the Cleveland police officers involved in the deadly encounter were reasonable in their belief that Rice had a real weapon, and that new analysis of the video of the shooting leaves it “indisputable” that the boy was pulling the weapon from his waistband when he was killed.
“The outcome will not cheer anyone, nor should it,” McGinty said. “Simply put, given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and miscommunications by all involved that day, the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.”
As told again by the Post, Rice was killed on Nov. 22 of last year after officers Tim Loehmann, a rookie, and Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, approached the boy as he played with a toy gun in a public park in Cleveland. Recent video footage of the incident appears to show Loehmann immediately firing on Rice as soon as Garmback drove their vehicle along a sidewalk where Rice was standing.
The family of Rice spoke via their attorneys, expressing their disappointment in the ruling.
“It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment,” said the Rice family via a statement. “Even though video shows the police shooting Tamir in less than one second, Prosecutor McGinty hired so-called expert witnesses to try to exonerate the officers and tell the grand jury their conduct was reasonable and justified. It is unheard of, and highly improper, for a prosecutor to hire ‘experts’ to try to exonerate the targets of a grand jury investigation.”
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is currently investigating the matter to determine whether or not Rice’s rights were violated.
Photo: family handout