CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - On Monday, Cleveland’s City Council will consider asking the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen an investigation in the 2014 killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Leading the charge is Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell.
Councilman Conwell says the fear is this could happen to another child. That’s why he will introduce legislation at the meeting requesting that the Justice Department reopen the investigation that was abruptly ended during the Trump Administration when federal authorities declined to charge the officers. They claimed the surveillance video of the incident was of such poor quality, it was impossible to determine what really happened.
Conwell tells 19 News he has sent letters to his constituents and will go door to door to gain more support to reopen the investigation.
“He never got justice, Tamir Rice never got justice,” said Conwell. “His mother Samaria Rice wrote a letter to President Joe Biden about this case. She’s heartbroken.”
At the end of April, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Representatives Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), and Tim Ryan (OH-13) — all Democrats — sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately reopen its civil rights investigation into Rice’s death.
“Tamir Rice should be alive today,” the letter says. “The DOJ’s investigation into the officer that killed Tamir was not completed by the end of President Obama’s term, and the Trump Administration abruptly closed the investigation in 2020, providing very little insight or information about the process. Justice delayed is justice denied, and accountability for Tamir Rice’s death has been delayed for more than six years.”
The Rice family’s attorney Subodh Chandra issued the following statement:
“The Rice family welcomes all support in seeking to persuade the Department of Justice to reopen the investigation into the killing of Tamir. As the Washington Post and New York Times reported, the circumstances under which the prior administration closed the investigation were deeply suspicious. Looming large is the specter of the Trump administration’s political interference with career Civil Rights Division prosecutors’ reported recommendations that a grand jury investigation into the officers commence. The Rice family has been repeatedly victimized by authorities giving special treatment to the officers who killed Tamir. County prosecutors gave the officers special treatment by letting the officers read prewritten statements to the grand jury without facing cross-examination to expose their falsehoods. That never happens in other cases. Federal authorities must not likewise give these officers special treatment.”
Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed Rice, has mounted legal efforts to return to the Cleveland police department, Cleveland.com reported last week.