Updated Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, 8:24 p.m. EST: Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, released the following statement shortly after the grand jury released its decision not to indict Officers Timothy Loehmann (who shot and killed Tamir) and Frank Garmback:
My family and I are in pain and devastated by the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder of our beloved Tamir. After this investigation—which took over a year to unfold—and Prosecutor McGinty’s mishandling of this case, we no longer trust the local criminal-justice system, which we view as corrupt.
Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers’ defense attorney. In a time in which a non-indictment for two police officers who have killed an unarmed black child is business as usual, we mourn for Tamir, and for all of the black people who have been killed by the police without justice. In our view, this process demonstrates that race is still an extremely troubling and serious problem in our country and the criminal-justice system.
I don’t want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with.
As the video shows, Officer Loehmann shot my son in less than a second. All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade.
I pray and hope that the federal government will investigate this case.
The Cleveland police officers responsible for the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice will not face charges, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday afternoon, the New York Times reports.
The decision signals the end of a lengthy investigation after the incident rocked the nation last year when the young boy was gunned down seconds after officers arrived on the scene.
Tamir, who was black, was carrying a fake gun outside a local recreation center when someone called 911. The caller cautioned that the gun was “probably fake” and that Tamir was likely very young, but that information was reportedly never given to responding Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty called the shooting “a perfect storm of human error” but said that no actual crime had been committed. McGinty said, according to the Times, that it was “indisputable” that Tamir was drawing the pellet gun from his waistband when he was fatally wounded, either to show officers that it was not a real weapon or to give it over. However, McGinty said, there was no way for officers to know that.
Speaking to MSNBC by phone, family attorney Earl Ward said that Tamir’s mom, Samaria Rice, was “devastated” by the grand jury decision, having “wanted justice” for her son. The family is pursuing a civil case, but Rice “wanted accountability” for the death of her little boy.
“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 Rice family attorneys said in a statement issued shortly after the announcement, according to the Washington Post. “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 justified. 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 official investigation into the young boy’s death took more than a year. The county sheriff’s office took over for the Police Department, and then the prosecutor’s office conducted its own investigation after the sheriff’s office finished its investigation. McGinty, the Times reports, ended up releasing a redacted version of the sheriff’s investigation months ago, and in the months leading up to this decision, is office published three independent reports by analysts who concluded that Officer Loehmann, who fired the fatal shots, acted reasonably.
As the Times reports, McGinty’s commissioning of the reports led to blistering criticism from Tamir’s family.