After months of testimony, the grand jury in Cleveland has decided to not indict Officer Timothy Loehmann or Officer Frank Garmback in the death of Tamir Rice.
In explaining the decision, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said it was “indisputable” that the boy was drawing the pistol from his waistband when he was gunned down. McGinty said Tamir was trying to either hand the weapon over to police or show them it wasn’t real, but the officer and his partner had no way of knowing that.
“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,” McGinty said. He said patrolman Timothy Loehmann was justified in opening fire: “He had reason to fear for his life.”
VIDEO: Prosecutor in Tamir Rice case: Despite "perfect storm of human error," no evidence police acted criminally: https://t.co/XkFM8fs6Op
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 28, 2015
Assistant county prosecutor Matt Meyer also made an important point about Tamir Rice’s appearance. While he was 12 years old, there was no way for the police to have judged that from his appearance.
Meyer says Tamir Rice was 5'7, 175 lbs, size 12 shoes. @wkyc
— Alyssa Raymond (@AlyssaRaymond) December 28, 2015
McGinty also noted that he had warned Rice’s family that this was a potential outcome.
“We explained to Tamir Rice’s mother that even in a situation as tragic as the death of her son, the state must be able to show that the police acted outside their constitutional boundaries,” McGinty said. “The evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police.”
McGinty noted that the decision was “also my recommendation, and that of my office.”
Tamir Rice’s family released a statement, and are pursuing a civil suit, as well as asking the Justice Department to become involved.
New from Rice Family – Prosecutor McGinty has been "abusing, manipulating" process to orchestrate no charges: pic.twitter.com/tlqdbwfdT0
— Ari Melber MSNBC (@AriMelber) December 28, 2015
Cleveland police are currently preparing for potential demonstrations, despite Rice’s family asking for “peaceful and democratic” behavior after this decision. Victory Girls will update this post if the situation changes.
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