CLEVELAND– Tamir Rice‘s family says they are “saddened and disappointed, but not surprised” by the grand jury’s decision to not bring charges against the two officers in the shooting death of the 12-year-old.
According to the attorney for Tamir Rice’s mother is distraught over today’s decision. He told us, “Samaria is weeping as only a mother who has lost a child and then denied justice can weep.”
A statement from Samaria Rice said:
“Prosecutor (Tim) McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers’ defense attorney. In a time in which a non-indictment for two police officers who have killed an unarmed black child is business as usual, we mourn for Tamir, and for all of the black people who have been killed by the police without justice. In our view, this process demonstrates that race is still an extremely troubling and serious problem in our country and the criminal-justice system.”
The Chandra Law Firm, LLC also released the following statement:
“Today, more than a year after Cleveland police shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a grand jury voted not to indict the shooter. Tamir’s family is saddened and disappointed by this outcome–but not surprised.
It has been clear for months now that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty was abusing and manipulating the grand-jury process to orchestrate a vote against indictment. Even though video shows the police shooting Tamir in less than one second, Prosecutor McGinty hired so-called expert witnesses to try to exonerate the officers and tell the grand jury their conduct was reasonable and justified. It is unheard of, and highly improper, for a prosecutor to hire “experts” to try to exonerate the targets of a grand-jury investigation. These are the sort of “experts” we would expect the officer’s criminal-defense attorney to hire—not the prosecutor.
Then, Prosecutor McGinty allowed the police officers to take the oath and read prepared statements to the grand jury without answering any questions on cross-examination. Even though it is black-letter law that taking the stand waives the Fifth Amendment right to be silent, the prosecutor did not seek a court order compelling the officers to answer questions or holding the officers in contempt if they continued to refuse. This special treatment would never be given to non-police suspects.
The way Prosecutor McGinty has mishandled the grand-jury process has compounded the grief of this family.
The Rice family is grateful for all the community support they have received and urges people who want to express their disappointment with how Prosecutor McGinty has handled this process to do so peacefully and democratically. We renew our request that the Department of Justice step in to conduct a real investigation into this tragic shooting of a 12-year-old child.”
Prosecutor McGinty said the investigation revealed that Officer Timothy Loehmann had reason to fear for his life. “It would be irresponsible or unreasonable if the officer was required to wait and see if the gun was real.” He said the shooting of Tamir Rice was tragic but not criminal.
He said he called Tamir’s mother to tell her the grand jury’s decision. “It was a rough call,” McGinty said.
He said he recommended to the grand jury that no charges be filed.