Tamir Rice was murdered by two Cleveland police officers in 2014. Even with video showing the officers murdered the 12 year old, the prosecutor announced this week that neither officer would be indicted for murder. He called the unfortunate incident an accident. Really? Two officers murdering a young boy is like getting into a traffic accident? It just shows how biased the ‘justice’ system is in Cleveland.
A short time ago, we informed Tamir’s mother of the grand jury’s decision. It was a tough conversation. We again expressed the condolences of our office, the sheriff’s detectives and everyone else who has worked so diligently on this case and our sincere wish that these events on that traumatic day at the Cuddell rec center had unfolded differently. She was broken up, and it’s very hard. We explained to her that this was a difficult decision also but that to charge police, even in a situation that was as undeniably tragic as the death of her son, the state must be able to show that the officers acted outside the constitutional boundaries set forward by the Supreme Court of these United States. 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. On close examination, especially of what is perhaps the most critical piece of evidence — a very recent enhancement of the surveillance video by an expert laboratory often relied upon by the FBI — it is now indisputable that Tamir was drawing his gun from his waist as the police slid toward him and Officer Loehmann exited the car. At the point where they suddenly came together, both Tamir and a 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 officer or show them it wasn’t a real gun. But there was no way for the officers to know that, because they saw the events rapidly unfolding in front of them from a very different perspective. Just moments before, they had been assigned and ordered to respond to a Code 1 report of a guy pointing a gun at people outside the rec center. That guy that they had been told was dressed exactly as Tamir was.
Setting aside the attempt to blame Tamir for his own death, I have to point out people who drive a car and drive into a ditch are still charged with “failure to control” – you get a ticket and have to appear in court even if you were the only person in the accident.
The actions of a police department led to the death of 12 year old boy and because they didn’t intend to kill him (maybe) the officers and dispatcher don’t get any criminal charges. They definitely should lose their jobs but someone died from their incompetence. Someone needs to go to jail for that.
Police need to be held to a higher standard. Public trust requires a higher standard.
Since when do the police take the word of 911 calls without assessing the scene on arrival? There were no reports of shots fired.
I worked security for a gocery chain years ago and one tip I was given by some veterans was if you wanted the police to come for backup mention you think the guy shoplifting has a gun. All the cops in the area would show up. Where was the backup if the report was a guy with a gun?
Why didn’t they just run Rice over with the car if they thought it was an active shooter?
In less than 2 seconds the cops thought Rice was going to shoot them? They barreled onto the scene like Starsky & Hutch with guns blazing. Yep they seemed really to “fear” for their lives.
Here’s how “officer-created jeopardy” relates to the death of Tamir Rice. As security footage of the shooting shows, Loehmann and Garmback’s car didn’t come to a stop until it was right next to Rice. In fact, the video indicates that the car was still moving when Loehmann opened the passenger side door and jumped out. Faced with a suspect they believed to be armed, in other words, Loehmann and Garmback decided to drive right up to him—thereby exposing themselves to the possibility that Rice could open fire on them with almost no warning.
The question the grand jurors had to answer, then, was whether to take that decision into account when determining the legality of the officers’ actions. Did it matter that no one forced Loehmann and Garmback to approach their suspect so aggressively? Did it matter that, by approaching him the way they did, they were the ones who had created the situation in which it then became necessary, in Loehmann’s view at least, to use deadly force?
I can tell you for sure that if Rice was the active shooter the officers imagined he was, they would not have been able to drive up to within the seven feet of him as they did that day. There would probably be one or two dead cops.
The idea the prosecutor made up that the cops thought Rice was an active shooter is ludicrous. They had time to drive up to Rice and circle around before stopping and Rice didn’t move from the gazebo area where he was shot.
The other thing to consider was mentioned on Twitter by TV pundit Chris Hayes:
Ohio is an open carry state, and the cops say they thought Rice was an adult, so what law, exactly, was he breaking?
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 28, 2015
Yes that is an interesting question that needs to be answered.
Also where is the NRA? They sure are silent about this incident.
Another unarmed black person murdered because of terrible gung-ho shoot first mentality of police these days.