Cuyahoga County Prosecutor McGinty releases reports from retired FBI agent, Denver assistant prosecutor to media, does not notify family
Family statement: “Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently.”
“It will be read, understandably, as a tragic foreshadowing of where the case may be headed: no arrest, no charges, no indictments,” Rhonda Y. Williams, Director, Social Justice Institute, Case Western U. in Cleveland.
Compiled from various news reports by VOD
October 11, 2015
Cleveland, Ohio — The family of Tamir Rice has condemned Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty’s release of two “expert reports” finding white Officer Timothy Loehmann justified in shooting the 12-year-old Black child to death Nov. 23, 2014. Rice, who was playing with a toy gun, was killed two seconds after the cop jumped out of his still-running scout car.
The reports are eventually to be given to a grand jury, said McGinty, but were released to the media, and not the family, who only heard about them from media reports.
“The Rice family and Clevelanders have always said that they want the officers who rushed upon and killed 12-year-old Tamir held accountable,” family attorney Subodh Chandra, says in the statement.
“The family now believes that the prosecutor’s office has been on an 11-month quest to avoid providing that accountability. Any presentation to a grand jury—without the prosecutor advocating for Tamir—is a charade. To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash—when the world has the video of what happened—is all-the-more alarming.
“These hired guns—all pro-police—dodge the simple fact that the officers rushed Tamir and shot him immediately without assessing the situation in the least. Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable. But they will never get the chance because the prosecutor is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment and no accountability.
Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently.”
The New York Times quoted Rhonda Williams, Director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, “It will be read, understandably, as a tragic foreshadowing of where the case may be headed: no arrest, no charges, no indictments.”
Williams was one of a group of Clevelanders who brought a private complaint successfully requesting that Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine issue an opinion that Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmack should face murder charges in the case.
Retired FBI agent Sandra A. Crawford wrote that “Loehmann had no information to suggest the weapon was anything but a real handgun . . .It is my conclusion that Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force falls within the realm of reasonableness under the dictates of the Fourth Amendment.”
Denver, CO. Assistant Prosecutor S. Lamar Sims said, “There can be no doubt that Rice’s death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking. However, for all of the reasons discussed herein, I conclude that Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat.”
Rice was killed on Nov 23, 2014. Surveillance video shows the boy playing with some sort of gun at a public recreation park. Police were called by an individual who said a male was pointing a gun, likely a toy, at people in the park. The police dispatcher who failed to report the caller’s full remark about the tory resigned in June.
The video shows a police cruiser pulling up to the park, officer Loehmann stepping off and within a second opening fire. The extended version, below, also shows them throwing his 14-year-old sister to the ground after she approaches to try to help her brother, then throwing her into the police car from which they killed Tamir. Her mother approaches the scene a while later to the left and is turned away. The officers go nowhere near Tamir to administer first aid.
In June 2014, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine issued an opinion advocating charges against both Loehmann and his partner Frank Garmback, at the request of several Cleveland citizens, under an Ohio statute allowing citizens to bring private complaints before a judge. Allegedly, the judge can issue only an advisory opinion regarding probable cause to the prosecutor in the case, with the prosecutor held to standards of “reasonable cause” to bring charges.
However, according to the “Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 2937.09, Court Action on Pleas in Felony Cases,” a preliminary examination is held on charges involving “probable cause” in a lower court, and then referred to the higher “Court of Common Pleas” for indictment and trial to determine cause beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is unclear why Judge Adrine’s ruling did not force the Prosecutor at least to bring “probable cause” charges against Loehmann and Garmback in a lower court.
“The video in question in this case is notorious and hard to watch,” Judge Adrine said in his opinion ( judge-ronald-b-adrines-recommendation-in-tamir).
“After viewing it several times, this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly. . .On the video, the Zone Car containing patrol officers Loehmann and Garmack is still in the process of stopping when Rice is shot. . . four additional minutes pass during which neither officer approaches Tamir as he lies wounded on the ground. . . Tamir’s sister arrives on the scene and is restrained from going to her brother’s side. . . During the same time, approximately six other members of the Cleveland Division of Police join the first two . . .It is difficult to discern . . .what, if any aid is anyone renders to Rice during these eight minutes. Nearly 14 minutes ultimately expire between the time that Tamir is shot and the time he is ultimately removed from the park.”
Adrine found that probable cause existed for murder, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless homicide charges against Loehman, and for negligent homicide against Garmback.
McGinty said that the two reports released Oct. 10 represent only a part of the evidence that a grand jury will weigh.
“The gathering of evidence continues, and the grand jury will evaluate it all,” McGinty said.
The site killedbypolice.net says there now have been 917 people in the U.S. killed by law enforcement since the beginning of 2015.
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