Municipal court could consider charges against officers in Tamir Rice case

Municipal court could consider charges against officers in Tamir Rice case
The community is outraged by the grand jury's decision to not indict the officers involved in Tamir Rice's shooting death. (Source: Family)
The community is outraged by the grand jury's decision to not indict the officers involved in Tamir Rice's shooting death. (Source: Family)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson says he is disappointed in how Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty handled the Tamir Rice case in front of the grand jury. He believes neither Rice nor the community got justice.

Johnson brought a letter to Cleveland's law department on Wednesday, telling a receptionist it was "a request for them to pursue a review of the Tamir Rice killing under the city law."

He believes that the officers' approach to 12-year-old Tamir, along with their actions, constitute negligent homicide, a violation of city law that he feels is provable.

"This is not the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. This is probable cause. We believe there is evidence there on the video and the expert's opinion that would give up probable cause and it's disappointing that the city has to step in to bring some sort of justice," said Johnson.

The councilman says a conviction at trial in municipal court is only punishable by six months in jail. However, he feels it would allow a full airing before the community.

His request, if gr anted, would be a rarity. Serious crimes and felonies are routinely charged in common pleas court. But since the officers have not been charged there, any new charge against them in municipal court would not constitute double jeopardy.

Johnson cited a higher court ruling saying "Sixth Circuit has talked about [how] a police officer cannot put themselves into a position where they leave little else but to fear for their own lives."

In his mind, that constitutes negligence.

Away from that, he remains critical of how he believes the case was presented to the grand jury

"It's all about what Tamir Rice did," said Johnson. "It's about what the officers didn't do. They didn't give Tamir Rice the right option and ability to follow an order and that's negligence and that violates city law."

No reaction yet from the law department.

Stay with Cleveland 19 for continuing coverage of the Tamir Rice case.

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