Justice Department declines to charge officers in Tamir Rice shooting

The U.S. Justice Department closed its investigation into the 2014 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, declining to charge the officers who responded to the scene. UPI File Photo handout

Dec. 30 (UPI) — The U.S. Justice Department declined to charge the Cleveland officers involved in the fatal 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, closing its investigation Tuesday.

An independent federal investigation into the Nov. 22, 2014, shooting of the 12-year-old Black boy seen playing with a toy gun at a park “found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges” against Cleveland Division of Police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Loehmann shot Rice twice as the officers responded to a 911 call reporting a male who was “probably a juvenile” pointing a “probably fake” gun at people in a playground at Cudell Park Recreation Center.

Rice died in a hospital the next day.

The Justice Department’s statement said the dispatcher “did not relay that the individual might be a juvenile or that the gun might be fake” and that officers “repeatedly and consistently stated that officer Loehmann gave Tamir multiple commands to show his hands before shooting and both officers repeatedly and consistently said that they saw Tamir reaching for his gun.”

“Based on the evidence and the high burdens of the applicable federal laws, career prosecutors have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Tamir did not reach for his toy gun; thus, there is insufficient evidence to establish that officer Loehmann acted unreasonably under the circumstances,” the Justice Department said.

In 2015, an Ohio grand jury did not pursue charges against Loehmann and Garmback. Loehmann was fired in 2017 due to inaccuracies in his application form and Garmback was suspended for 10 days for violating a tactical rule by driving too close to Rice on the day of the shooting.


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