Grand jury has started hearing testimony in Tamir Rice case

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Multiple sources confirm to the FOX 8 I-TEAM that a grand jury has started hearing testimony in the Tamir Rice case.

We've learned witnesses, including police and  sheriff detectives, have gone before the grand jury since at least last week.

This case has drawn national attention since last November. Cleveland police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Police got a call about a man with a gun outside the Cudell Rec Center.

Officers pulled up, and one shot the boy in less than two seconds. Police say Rice reached for the gun in his waistband, and the gun he had was an airsoft pellet gun that appeared to be a powerful handgun.

Activists have complained the investigation is taking too long. Cuyahoga County prosecutors have said the case would go to a grand jury for a recommendation on whether or not there should be charges against the officers involved.

The I-TEAM asked the prosecutor's office about the current grand jury proceedings, and a spokesman wrote by e-mail, " We cannot discuss anything about the work of the Grand Jury."

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office investigated the case and turned over findings to the prosecutor.

Then earlier this month, the prosecutor's office released findings of independent reviews of the case. Two independent experts said the officer's actions were reasonable given all of the circumstances.

Meantime, the prosecutor's office has indicated there could be more independent reviews of the case.

Police Union President Steve Loomis released the following statement on the grand jury proceedings:

"We have the upmost respect for the Grand Jury system and the laws and constitution that govern it.  We will continue to cooperate in the Grand Jury's investigation of the facts of this case.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Rice family as well as to our involved officers and their families."

An attorney for the family of Tamir Rice released the following statement:

"For the reasons stated in counsel's October 16, 2015 letter to the prosecutor, the Rice family continues to lack confidence in the prosecutor's handling of the grand-jury process. The family remains disappointed by the prosecutor's failure (1) to step aside for an independent prosecutor, and (2) to affirm publicly that he believes there is probable cause to support criminal charges and that he's seeking an indictment, just as he normally would in other criminal cases. The family thus believes that the secret process gives the prosecutor cover for his lack of interest in bringing charges."

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