No Indictments Against Police Officers Who Fatally Shot Tamir Rice

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By ideastream's Brian Bull

There will be no criminal indictments against the two Cleveland Police Officers who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November 2014.  And the decision by the grand jury hasn’t resolved controversy surrounding the boy’s death.

Following roughly two months of testimony, review, and expert evidence reports, the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury decided that the evidence gave no sign of criminal intent on part of rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann or his partner, Frank Garmback.

“That was also my recommendation, and that of our office, after reviewing the investigation, and the law.” 

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced the news Monday afternoon.  He said the officers were responding to a 911 call suggesting an active shooter situation and didn’t know Tamir Rice had a replica gun and had been playing around with it. 

“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.”

But critics – including the Rice family, their attorneys, and supporters – have accused Prosecutor McGinty of tainting the case, and repeatedly asked him to step down from it and appoint a special prosecutor.  The U.S. Justice Department is also reviewing the Rice case.

Jonathan Witmer-Rich is a professor with the Cleveland Marshall College of Law.  He says there’s a lot of political pressure put on local prosecutors. 

“Because they work with the police, on a daily basis. So that’s lead some to call for the use of independent prosecutors that don’t face those local political, immediate pressures from the police that they’re working with, day in and day out.” 

Meanwhile, Mayor Frank Jackson says the city of Cleveland and its police department will carry out an administrative review that could result in disciplinary action against Officers Loehmann and Garmback. Both the Mayor and Police Chief Calvin Williams declined to say how long that might take. 

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