No indictment in shooting death of Tamir Rice

Posted at 12:19 PM, Dec 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 15:17:05-05

A grand jury has declined to indict a rookie Cleveland police officer or his partner for their roles in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a black youngster who was holding what turned out to be a pellet gun.

Patrolman Timothy Loehmann fatally shot Tamir Rice within two seconds of a police cruiser driven by Frank Garmback skidding to a stop near the boy in November 2014. The charges come after a lengthy investigation by the Cuyahoga County sheriff's office and county prosecutors and a grand jury presentation that began in late October.

Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced the grand jury's decision Monday.

A video of the shooting captured by a surveillance camera provoked outrage nationally and made Tamir a central figure in a protest movement over police killings.

The prosecutor in Cleveland says a "perfect storm of human error" led to the death of Rice.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty says newly enhanced video shows that it is "indisputable" that Tamir was removing his gun from his waistband when he was shot.

McGinty says it's almost certain that Tamir intended to hand it over to the officers or to show them that it wasn't a real gun. But he says there's no way the officers could have known that.

An assistant prosecutor in Cleveland says security camera footage shows Rice pointing his pellet gun at people inside a recreation center before he was shot and killed by police.

Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer said Monday that Tamir was seen repeatedly drawing the gun from his waistband and putting it back there the morning before officers arrived. He was also seen pointing the gun at other children.

A 911 caller said "the guy" with a gun was probably a juvenile and the gun was probably fake. Meyer says a dispatcher didn't relay that to the officers.

McGinty says Tamir's mother was "broken up" when she learned that two officers wouldn't be charged for their roles in his shooting death.

McGinty says "it was a tough conversation" with Tamir's mother. Tamir's family had pushed for charges against the officers.

McGinty also says that the community should begin the healing process now that the grand jury has made its decision. He says lessons have been learned from the shooting, and the city has taken steps to ensure something similar doesn't happen again.