A grand jury has convened to decide whether two White police officers will be charged in the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old Black child who was killed while playing with a toy gun at a Cleveland, Ohio park last fall.
It’s been nearly a year since Tamir Rice was shot by Officer Timothy Loehmann just two seconds after his patrol car arrived on scene. A 911 caller alerted the dispatcher that the gun the child was holding may have been a toy. The dispatcher, however, failed to relay that information to the responding officers.
Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, were subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury last week, CBS News reports.
“We’ve cooperated fully,” said Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association. “I have all the confidence in the world in the grand jury system and our system of justice.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said he would take the case to the grand jury, but Loomis’ comments revealed that the panel had begun hearing the case. McGinty’s spokesman Joe Frolik said the prosecutor’s office cannot comment on grand jury proceedings.
Henry Hilow, an attorney who accompanied the officers to the grand jury, declined to comment. McGinty has been a target of criticism by activists and attorneys for Tamir’s family for what they perceive as delays in presenting evidence to the grand jury. Those attorneys are involved in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the city and the two officers.
Earlier this month, two expert reports made public by McGinty deemed the shooting “justified.” The responding officer had reason to perceive the child was a threat, the reports said.
A lawyer for Tamir’s family issued a statement Tuesday criticizing McGinty for the reports and for not telling Samaria Rice, the child’s mother, that the grand jury was reviewing evidence from the case.
“The Rice family continues to lack confidence in the prosecutor’s handling of the grand jury process,” the statement said. “The family thus believes the secret process is being used as a cover for the prosecutor’s lack of interest in bringing charges.”
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: CBS | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform
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