Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says he does not trust the state attorney general’s office to conduct a transparent investigation into the shooting death of unarmed 12-year-old Tamir Rice (pictured), who was gunned down by a police officer last year as he frolicked on a playground, the Guardian reports. Instead, he has called on the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the child’s death, the report says.
Tamir was playing with a pellet gun on a playground near a recreation center when he was shot and killed in November by Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann. The child was shot in the abdomen just seconds after officers arrived on scene in response to a 911 call that reported someone who was “probably a juvenile” was waving a gun that was “probably fake,” as NewsOne has previously reported.
The Guardian reports:
“I don’t have confidence that a [state Bureau of Criminal Investigation] probe into police use-of-force would be a transparent, due-process kind of investigation,” said Jackson, according to Northeast Ohio Media Group. He instead called on the Cuyahoga County sheriff to investigate Rice’s death.
In November 2012, Cleveland police officers unleashed a barrage of 137 rounds onto two unarmed people following a high-speed chase through the city.
After an investigation by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine said the incident was the result of “systemic failure” in the city’s police department.
Jackson’s comments come as the nation has been whipsawed by complaints about police violence in the Black community and gripes by police that they feel disrespected by some city leaders. The battle comes amid several high profile deaths of citizens at the hands of police, including that of Tamir, Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Jackson is not the only one to have doubts about the department.
Criminal charges were brought against six police involved in the November 2012 shooting, a rare example of prosecution of police who acted in the line of duty. A patrolman was charged with homicide and five supervisors were charged with dereliction of duty. Proceedings against the officers are ongoing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court.
The city also paid $3m to the estates of the two people killed, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, to settle a federal lawsuit.
A 600 case review by the U.S. Department of Justice, released not long after Rice was shot found that police in Cleveland had on many occasions used excessive and unconstitutional force. The investigation was launched in March 2013 after several high profile incidents of police violence, including the November 2012 shooting.
Jackson’s recent comments echo those he made last month after the Department of Justice released its report.
“I just try to do the right thing, and wherever that leads me, I will go,” Jackson said during a 90-minute press conference after the report was released. “What I will not listen to are those with agendas, or those who use this tragedy to promote agendas.”