Shooting of Tamir Ricein US playing with a toy weapon in a Cleveland park ‘not a crime’

December 30, 2015 6:31 am
Grand jury declines to bring charges against Cleveland police in shooting of 12-year-old playing with gun.

Rice was shot by Timothy Loehmann within two seconds of the officer’s
police cruiser skidding to a stop near the boy outside a city recreation
center in November 2014. Photo / AP

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, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy 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.”

Rice was fatally shot by officer Tim Loehmann, a rookie on the
Cleveland police force, on November 22, 2014, as the young boy played
with a toy gun in a public park.
The grand jury also reviewed the
actions of Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback. The officers said in
statements that Rice appeared much older and reached for the toy gun
that was tucked in his waistband before Loehmann shot at him.
officers are rarely charged after on-duty shootings. There have been at
least 975 police fatal shootings in the this year,
according to a Washington Post database; officers have been charged with a in just eight of those shootings.
and grand juries have also indicted a number of officers this year for
fatal shootings that occurred in previous years.
McGinty said that the shooting death of Rice did not meet the standard of a crime.
death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy but it was not, by the law
that binds , a crime,” McGinty said, before adding that he informed
Tamir’s mother of the decision before announcing it publicly.
was a tough conversation … She was broken up.” In a statement issued
not long after the prosecutor’s announcement, lawyers for Tamir Rice’s
family decried the grand jury process and renewed their calls for the
Department of Justice to bring federal charges.
“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 family lawyers said.
“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
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 Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is conducting its own independent investigation into Rice’s death.
Rice’s death came just days before massive protests and unrest would
break out in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York after officers in those
cities were cleared in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Rice shooting prompted protests that blocked roads and interrupted
public meetings, with local residents demanding indictments for Loehmann
and Garmback.

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