CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Attorneys and family members of Tamir Rice are accusing the Cuyahoga County prosecutor of not being committed to securing an indictment in the case.
In a letter sent to Prosecutor Tim McGinty, attorney Johnathan Abady says the Rice family is “disappointed and has grave concern” over the office’s handling of the criminal investigation of the police officers who killed the 12-year-old.
The attorney questions the prosecutor's choice in experts to review the case, referring to them as pro-police.
“It now appears that the grand jury presentation will be nothing short of a charade aimed at whitewashing this police killing of a 12-year-old child,” Abady writes in his letter.
Attorneys and family members held a press conference on the matter Friday, asking for McGinty to step aside and to appoint a special prosecutor to the case.
McGinty was not available Friday morning. But he has said previously that the expert witness findings, which said the officer’s action were reasonable, will be presented to a grand jury and the jury will decide whether any charges should be filed.
McGinty has added he is not reaching any conclusions based on the reports.
Tamir Rice was shot by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22, 2012, in the playground area of the Cudell Recreation Center.
Police went to the area, after a 911 caller reported a male in the area waving a gun. Police say they ordered Tamir three times to put his hands in the air, but instead he reached for his waistband. He was shot.
Tamir had an airsoft pistol that police say looked like a real gun.
His family and attorneys, however, say Tamir was shot in less than 2 seconds after police arrived and question if officers could have ordered him three times to put his hands in the air in that amount of time.
A civil lawsuit has also been filed in federal court.
Abady, whose firm is representing the family of the slain 12-year-old, wrote in a letter made public early Friday that the Rices are disappointed and very concerned about the way the investigation into Cleveland officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback is unfolding.
The letter also says McGinty has taken too long to investigate a case in which a charge should already have been filed.
The letter also criticizes reports released Saturday and commissioned by McGinty that conclude Loehmann's decision to shoot Tamir was "reasonable."
Abady asks McGinty to step aside and let a special prosecutor handle the case.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
"The policy of the County Prosecutor’s Office is to make the evidence in fatal use of force cases by police public before a decision on charging is made. Whatever the outcome of a case, the public should not be surprised by -- or unaware of the basis for -- any decision.
By ending the culture of secrecy that formerly surrounded these cases and taking all deaths at the hands of police to the Grand Jury for review, we expect to improve community confidence and to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary deaths. There will be fewer mistakes and fewer deaths.
The entire case, including all the facts that we and the various investigative teams can find, will be given to the Grand Jury which must act according to the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.
No stone will be left unturned in our search for truth and justice.
Some parties may be displeased with evidence or reports as they are disclosed, but by making them public before conclusion, there is an opportunity to correct errors.
We have confidence in the integrity of the Grand Jury and believe that justice can be achieved.”
Steve Loomis, President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association issued the following statement Friday afternoon:
While we continue to believe this is an absolute tragedy, the fact the Rice family guided by ambulance chasing attorney Chandra is calling for an outside prosecutor displays their attempt to divert attention from fact.
It should be noted Attorney Chandra attempted to solicit our endorsement to run against prosecutor McGinty during the previous election for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and will obviously stop at nothing to advance his agenda. He is a cancer and is victimizing the Rice family with the promise of a huge cash settlement in which he receives 40% of. He should be embarrassed and ashamed. Chandra asking for an independent prosecutor is completely self serving and a reckless abandonment of common sense and fact. I am embarrassed for him.
For much more, click here.