Cleveland Judge Finds Cause for Murder Charge Over Police Killing of 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice. Photograph: Facebook
Tamir Rice. Photograph: Facebook

Prosecutor brushes aside recommendation from Ohio judge to charge Cleveland police officer with murder and vows to proceed as planned with grand jury

A judge in Ohio said on Thursday he had found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year.

Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland municipal court said there were grounds to prosecute officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide.

Adrine also found there was probable cause for a charge of negligent homicide against officer Frank Garmback, Loehmann’s partner, who was present when Tamir was shot at a park on 22 November while holding a pellet gun.

The judge’s recommendation, however, was brushed aside by Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, who pledged to proceed as planned with having a grand jury decide on whether the officers should be charged.

“This case, as with all other fatal use of deadly force cases involving law enforcement officers, will go to the grand jury,” McGinty said in a statement. “That has been the policy of this office since I was elected. Ultimately, the grand jury decides whether police officers are charged or not charged.

In a 10-page ruling, Judge Adrine wrote that after viewing surveillance video, which shows Tamir being shot dead within two seconds of Loehmann’s arrival, he was “still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly”.

The judge said Tamir was given “little if any time” to respond to any commands from the officers, that his arms were not raised, and that he made no “furtive movement”. Adrine wrote: “Literally, the entire encounter is over in an instant.”

Adrine noted that his role remained “advisory in nature” and that any charges must be brought by prosecutors for the city of Cleveland or Cuyahoga County.

However Walter Madison, an attorney for Tamir’s family, said on Thursday that he knew of no legitimate impediment to a prosecution and that Loehmann and Garmback should be arrested and arraigned in court.

“We are very much relieved and it is a step towards procedural justice and people having access to their government,” Madison told the Guardian.

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SOURCE: The Guardian
Jon Swaine

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