The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office is releasing three expert reports regarding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer on November 22, 2014. The Cleveland police officers involved in the case are Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. The office has made no decision in the case.
The three reports come from the Ohio Highway Patrol, a member of the Denver District Attorney's office, and a retired member of the FBI in Virginia.
- S. Lamar Sims, Senior Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Office of the Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey. Mr. Sims is a Harvard Law School graduate and has been a prosecutor in Colorado since 1981. He is a frequent speaker at seminars on proper use of force by law enforcement officers and has handled numerous fatal use of deadly force investigations.
- Kimberly A. Crawford, a retired Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Legal Instruction Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where she taught classes in the use of deadly force. A graduate of Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Ms. Crawford was an FBI agent for more than 20 years and since 2009 has been an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Virginia Community College in Fairfax, Virginia.
According to Sims' report, he concludes that Officer Timothy Loehmann's actions were 'objectively reasonable' as that term is defined by controlling Federal case law.
The report from Crawford states the only relevant facts are those possessed by Officer Loehmann at the moment he fired his weapon and those facts were "a 911 caller had reported a man in the park with a gun that he kept pulling from his pants."
The other relevant fact, according to Crawford's report, was when the officer arrived on scene he observed an individual matching the description provided by the 911 caller reach to his right side near his waist and pull up his jacket.
She goes on to say the information acquired after the fact - that Tamir was 12 and the weapon was not a real gun is not relevant to a constitutional review of Officer Loehmann's actions.
The attorney for Tamir's mother, Samaria provided the following response to the reports.
The Rice family and Clevelanders have always said that they want the officers who rushed upon and killed 12-year-old Tamir held accountable. The family now believes that the prosecutor's office has been on an 11-month quest to avoid providing that accountability. Any presentation to a grand jury—without the prosecutor advocating for Tamir—is a charade. To get so-called experts to assist in the whitewash—when the world has the video of what happened—is all the more alarming.
These supposed "experts"—all pro-police—dodge the simple fact that the officers rushed Tamir and shot him immediately without assessing the situation in the least. Reasonable jurors could find that conduct unreasonable. But they will never get the chance because the prosecutor is working diligently to ensure that there is no indictment and no accountability.
Who will speak for Tamir before the grand jury? Not the prosecutor, apparently. - Subodh Chandra, The Chandra Law Firm, LLC
Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association president Steve Loomis said they agreed with the new reports but found no reason to celebrate, and released the following statement:
While we agree wholeheartedly with the findings of the independent investigators, we are not celebrating them. We have maintained from day one our officers took appropriate action based on law, facts and circumstances they were aware of at the time. We have also always maintained and truly believe that this has been an absolute tragedy for all involved including the Rice family as well as our officers and their families.
According to the release, no conclusions have been reached by the prosecutor's office and all evidence will be presented to a grand jury. It will be the grand jury that will decide if criminal charges should be filed.
Tamir Rice was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer on November 22, 2014 at the Cudell Recreation Center. Officers believed he was armed. It turns out the gun was an airsoft pellet gun.