Tamir Rice
YouTube screenshot

Evidence is finally being presented to a Cuyahoga County, Ohio, grand jury in the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot last year while playing with a toy gun at a playground near his home.  

Although a spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty declined to confirm whether the grand jury is hearing the case, according to multiple sources familiar with the case who have spoken with Cleveland.com, Cuyahoga County sheriff's deputies have been called in to testify, and prosecutors have been presenting evidence.

Tamir was shot and killed Nov. 22, 2014, while playing with a replica airsoft pellet gun outside the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland. According to the news site, two officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, were responding to a call about a person with a gun. Although the caller told the dispatcher that Tamir was a child and that the weapon was probably fake, the dispatcher reportedly never relayed that information to the responding officers.

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Video from the incident shows the officers driving up less than 10 feet from Tamir and Loehmann jumping from the moving car, with his weapon drawn, and firing two shots. Tamir was hit once.    

The news that the grand jury was reviewing the case came as a surprise to Tamir's family, who, in recent weeks, have asked for a special prosecutor to try the case after McGinty released two outside reviews of the shooting that found Loehmann had "acted reasonably," the news site notes.

McGinty has stated that he released the findings of the independent investigation in the interests of transparency.

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According to Cleveland.com, once McGinty has presented all of his evidence from the nine-month investigation, jurors will decide whether the officers should be charged in the shooting, a process that could take several weeks.

Subodh Chandra, the attorney for Tamir's family, noted in an emailed statement to Cleveland.com Tuesday that McGinty has dragged the investigation along and has never stated whether he plans to ask the grand jury to charge the officers.

"The family thus believes that the secret process is being used as a cover for the prosecutor's lack of interest in bringing charges," Chandra said.

Read more at Cleveland.com