CLEVELAND, Ohio — Officials all over the state began to issue responses shortly after Monday’s announcement that no charges would be brought against the officers involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice.
Prosecutors said at a press conference Monday afternoon that a grand jury decided not to bring charges against officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback.
Ohio Governor John Kasich issued the following statement after the announcement:
“Tamir Rice’s death was a heartbreaking tragedy, and I understand how this decision will leave many people asking themselves if justice was served. We all lose, however, if we give in to anger and frustration and let it divide us. We have made progress to improve the way communities and police work together in our state, and we’re beginning to see a path to positive change so everyone shares in the safety and success they deserve. When we are strong enough together to turn frustration into progress we take another step up the higher path.”
The NAACP also issued a statement, saying “the failure of the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury to indict the killers of young Tamir Rice with murder is a miscarriage of justice.” The statement said the case was “botched from its inception” by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
The statement continued:
“That this decision has taken a year is the first failing and it has been compounded by utter incompetence, racial bias and highly suspect actions of the prosecutor. This means that there is imbalance in the system that is supposed to treat all citizens with impartiality and make decisions in reliance on basic facts and probable cause. It also gives license to police officers to act as judge, jury and executioner. That this is a trend throughout the country means that our entire criminal justice system is suspect.
It also calls into question the actions of our County Prosecutor, which conceivably tainted the process and resulted in this gregarious decision, which is a violation, not only of the constitution but of the faith of victims that their rights be protected.
While it’s too early to predict what actions the NAACP will take in this matter, be assured that Mr. McGinty’s conduct will be the subject of an intense legal discussion. Furthermore, it’s time for our friends in both political parties to consider a justice litmus test for all candidates in the criminal justice system.”
Meanwhile, Michael Tobin, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, issued this statement:
“The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring the investigation that has been conducted regarding the death of Tamir Rice on Nov. 22, 2014. We will continue our independent review of this matter, assess all available materials and determine what actions are appropriate, given the strict burdens and requirements imposed by applicable federal civil rights laws.
“Additionally, the Department of Justice continues in its efforts to pursue ongoing and comprehensive reform pursuant to the consent decree in the federal, civil pattern and practice case filed before Chief Judge Solomon Oliver in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.”
Tamir Rice’s family said they are “saddened and disappointed, but not surprised” by the decision.