(Huffington Post) An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the Cleveland police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 12-year-old in 2014.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced the decision Monday afternoon, nearly 400 days since rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir Rice after responding to the scene with veteran officer Frank Garmback. The grand jury also declined to indict Garmback.
“The outcome will not cheer anyone,” McGinty said, but he noted that Loehmann’s assessment that he was about to be shot was “a mistaken but sincere belief” given the stress of the situation.
“It would be irresponsible and unreasonable if law required a police officer to wait and see if the gun was real,” McGinty said.
On Nov. 22, 2014, Loehmann and Garmback were dispatched to investigate 911 calls about a “guy with a gun” pulling a weapon from his waistband and pointing it at people. The gun was later determined to be an airsoft pellet gun.
Tamir’s family reportedly was not briefed on the outcome of the grand jury investigation before Monday’s announcement, but it was an end they had anticipated.
In a statement released immediately after the announcement of no indictment, lawyers for Tamir’s family said they were “saddened and disappointed” by the outcome, but not surprised. The family also renewed their calls for the Justice Department to make an independent investigation into the case.
“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 family 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. It is unheard of, and highly improper, for a prosecutor to hire ‘experts’ to try to exonerate the targets of a grand jury investigation.”
Rice’s family and their advocates have been highly critical of McGinty’s office during what they considered an unreasonably lengthy and biased investigation.