A grand jury has declined to bring criminal charges against two Cleveland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice.
“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,” Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty told reporters.
The grand jury has been hearing testimony since October about the fatal shooting of Rice by police last year. It was deciding whether to indict officers Timothy Loehmann — the officer who shot Tamir — and his partner Frank Garmback.
Tamir was playing with an air gun in a public park when Loehmann shot him within seconds of arriving at the scene.
McGinty added that a recent enhancement of surveillance video was “perhaps the most critical piece of evidence.” He said that because of that new enhancement, “it is now indisputable that Tamir was drawing his gun from his waist as the police car slid toward him and Officer Loehmann exited the car.” Here’s more from McGinty:
“At the point where they suddenly came together, both Tamir and the rookie officer were no doubt frightened. If we put ourselves in the victim’s shoes, as prosecutors and detectives try to do, it is likely that Tamir, whose size made him look much older and who had been warned that his pellet gun might get him into trouble that day, either intended to hand it over to the officers or show them that it wasn’t a real gun. But there was no way for the officers to know that, because they saw the events unfolding in front of them from a very different perspective.”
The incident took place more than 400 days ago. Rice’s family has grown increasingly frustrated with what it sees as the slow pace of justice, as NPR previously reported.
McGinty said he informed Rice’s mother of the jury’s decision prior to the press conference and that it was a “tough conversation.”
Subodh Chandra, a lawyer representing the Rice family in a civil lawsuit, had told AP ahead of the decision that he didn’t expect the officers to be indicted. “This is apparently how long it takes to engineer denying justice to a family when the video of the incident clearly illustrates probable cause to charge the officer,” he had said.
— via NPR