While this news doesn’t shock us, it still upsets us.
Lame-duck Donald Trump’s outgoing DOJ wanted to leave us with one last hard pill to swallow. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday (Dec.29) that it closed the investigation into the unjust shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and that no charges will be filed against the officers involved.
According to Raw Story, the DOJ’s reasoning behind its decision was due to the evidence not being good enough to come to a conclusion.
In a statement, the DOJ explained its predictable but lame decision, stating:
“The video footage is grainy, shot from a distance, does not show detail or perspective, and portions of the incident are not visible because of the location of the patrol car. Further, the time-lapse footage captures approximately two frames per second at a variable rate, which is incapable of capturing continuous action.”
Responding to the DOJ’s decision, Subodh Chandra, an attorney for Rice’s family, said the “process was tainted,” adding:
“It’s beyond comprehension that the [Justice] Department couldn’t recognize that an officer who claims he shouted commands when the patrol car’s window was closed, and it was a winter day is lying. The Rice family has been cheated of a fair process yet again.”
As expected, there was plenty of outrage following the announcement. Congresswoman-elect of Missouri, Cori Bush wrote on Twitter:
“It cannot be called the Justice Department if it cannot bring about justice for the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In Tamir’s honor, we say to every Black child: we love you. And we will never stop fighting to protect you.”
It cannot be called the Justice Department if it cannot bring about justice for the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
In Tamir’s honor, we say to every Black child: we love you. And we will never stop fighting to protect you. https://t.co/ZipZDe0b0V
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 30, 2020
Julian Castro added in a tweet:
“In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police while playing with a BB gun. Responding officers were informed beforehand that he was likely a juvenile and the gun was likely fake—but they shot him just 2 seconds after arriving. This is not justice.”
In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police while playing with a BB gun.
Responding officers were informed beforehand that he was likely a juvenile and the gun was likely fake—but they shot him just 2 seconds after arriving.
This is not justice. https://t.co/JQXDJn8dTM
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) December 30, 2020
Tamir Rice lost his life after two Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, responded to a dispatch claiming “a guy with a pistol” was spotted near the Cudell Recreation Center playground. The person who called 911 told the dispatcher that the person was “probably a juvenile” and was “scaring the shit out of everyone,” but made sure to point out “the gun was probably fake.”
When the officers arrived on the scene, officer Loehmann shot and killed Rice, who was playing with a replica gun that was missing the orange safety barrel cap that distinguishes real guns from toys. A Cuyahoga County grand jury would later decide not to prosecute the officers sparking justified outrage across the country.
Such an upsetting case. #TamirRice should be alive today. A tragic reminder, too, of the importance of dispatchers in affecting encounters between the public and law enforcement officers. For research on the topic, see @JessicaGillool1’s excellent work. https://t.co/uvvOreqoe6 https://t.co/A1liShRMXa pic.twitter.com/sADYmi5pWX
— Hakeem Jefferson (@hakeemjefferson) December 29, 2020
The Rice family reached a $6 million settlement with Cleveland, but they still want Tamir’s justice. Unfortunately, even after the officers were fired three years later, Loehman was able to get another job as a police officer in a small village in Ohio, Bellaire, The Times Leader, reported back in 2018.
We hope the Biden administration’s Department of Justice takes another look at this.
Photo: Boston Globe / Getty