Grand Jury Declines To Indict Cleveland Police In Killing Of Tamir Rice

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December 28, 2015 2:09 p.m.

UPDATE: Dec. 28, 2015, 3:04 PM ET

A grand jury declined Monday to indict a rookie Cleveland police officer in the November 2014 killing of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old who turned out to be holding a toy gun.

Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback responded to a police call reporting a black man with a gun in a city park. The caller also said the gun was “probably” fake and the person appeared to be a child, but that information was not conveyed to the officers.

Loehmann, who is white, fired two shots within seconds of arriving on the scene, hitting Rice in the torso.

Surveillance video of the shooting showed the officers made no move to provide Rice with first aid after the shooting, and handcuffed Rice’s 14-year-old sister as she approached her wounded brother.

It was later found that Rice was found to be holding a toy Airsoft replica gun.

In a Monday afternoon news conference, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said a “perfect storm of human error” led to Rice’s death.

McGinty also said newly enhanced video provides “indisputable” evidence that Rice was taking the pellet gun out of the waistband of his pants at the time of the shooting. It’s nearly certain that Rice intended to hand the toy to police or show the officers it wasn’t real, which officers couldn’t have known, he said.

“We too want justice for Tamir,” McGinty said, calling Rice’s death an “absolute tragedy.”

In a statement after the announcement, attorneys for the Rice family again called for an independent Department of Justice investigation into the shooting and said they were “saddened…but not surprised” by the news.

“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,” the attorneys said in the statement. “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.”

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