Tamir Rice Shooting: Officers Who Shot Boy Cleared By Grand Jury

Tamir Rice Shooting: Officers Who Shot Boy Cleared By Grand Jury
smith & wesson 460 magnum Greta Ceresini/Flickr CC BY 2.0
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The two Cleveland police officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014 were cleared by a grand jury Monday. A prosecutor said that there was no criminal activity in the incident.


The decision comes after weeks of testimony on the shooting of Rice, who was shot by two police officers after they responded to a call of a suspect with a gun at a park next to a Cleveland recreation center. According to Reuters, Rice, who passed away the next day, had with him a replica handgun when he was shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann. The squad car in which Loehmann arrived at the scene was being driven by his partner, Frank Garmback.

At a news conference, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim 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.”

While the police radio personnel described the suspect’s clothing to the officers, they did not tell them that the 911 caller had said that the suspect may have been a minor and that the gun he was carrying may not have been real. McGinty said these errors “were substantial contributing factors to the tragic outcome.”

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Referring to the video which shows Rice reaching for his gun as the officers approached, McGinty said Loehmann “had reason to fear for his life.” Saying that “it became real” that there was no criminal activity on behalf of the officers, McGinty said it would be unreasonable for the law to ask that the officers wait to conclude whether the firearm that Rice was carrying was real or not.

Loehmann said in a statement to the grand jury that he saw Rice pulling out a gun from his waistband when he asked the victim to show his hands.

According to Yahoo News, Matthew Meyer, chief prosecutor of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s public corruption unit, said the shooting came as a result of a “tragic confluence of events” – Rice looked older than a 12-year-old, the officers believed the weapon the victim was carrying was not a replica, and the fact that the security monitors at the recreation center were in a locked room and not overseen by the guard on duty.

Rice’s family was “saddened” and “disappointment” with the decision, but not “surprised,” family prosecutors said in a statement following the verdict. “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,” the attorneys said.

An independent review of the case to “determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws” will be conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.