Tamir Rice was the 12-year-old boy who was playing with a pellet gun when he was shot by a Cleveland police officer, less than two seconds after that officer arrived on the scene. Now, so-called “experts” hired by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office are saying that the officer’s conduct was “reasonable.”
Three reports — one from a Colorado prosecutor, another by a former FBI agent, and a third by the Ohio highway patrol — were posted on the prosecutor’s website on Saturday evening. Those reports say that while the shooting was tragic, officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback believed that Rice posed a threat to their safety, and therefore they used a reasonable amount of force.
According to the report by S. Lamar Sims, who is the senior chief deputy district attorney in Denver:
There can be no doubt that Rice’s death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking. However, for all of the reasons discussed herein, I conclude that Officer Loehmann’s belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat.
Police are trained to assess a situation quickly and produce an appropriate response. But the fact that Rice was shot less than two seconds after officers Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene suggests that they had already decided that Rice was going to be a threat to them, before they ever saw him. If that was the case, they weren’t responding to a threat assessment, which makes Rice’s shooting simply murder.
Subodh Chandra, a lawyer who is representing Rice’s family, had this to say, according to CNN:
Any presentation to a grand jury — without the prosecutor advocating for Tamir — is a charade. To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash — when the world has the video of what happened — is all the more alarming.
Chandra added that he believes the prosecutor “is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment.”
These reports seem to continue the trend seen in the Michael Brown case, where prosecutors appear to be actually defending the police, rather than asking the grand jury for an indictment based on the available evidence. Why is the grand jury system again being abused in this manner? A grand jury is not supposed to be in the business of determining guilt or innocence, but merely to say whether the evidence warrants a trial. Doesn’t a police shooting of a 12-year-old deserve the scrutiny of jury trial?
Here’s a report, from Cleveland’s WEWS:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUyChsFVOKU?rel=0]
Featured image via WEWS screen capture