Mother of Tamir Rice calling for special prosecutor
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Nearly one year after the death of Tamir Rice, his mother, Samaria, and her lawyers are calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed to the case. Tamir was holding an airsoft pellet gun when he was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer on Nov. 22, 2014 outside Cudell Rec Center.
"It's been almost a year now of no justice and no peace," said Samaria Rice.
On Oct. 10, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty's office released a report from expert witnesses who say the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was "reasonable," based on what the officers knew at the time.
Rice and Attorney Subodh Chandra have expressed concern about McGinty's public release of what they are calling "pro-police and fundamentally-flawed reports, which they believe will taint the grand jury process."
"I believe Prosecutor McGinty is obstructing justice," said LaTonya Goldsby, Tamir's cousin.
In a letter, and publicly spoken from the steps of the Justice Center, lawyers for the Rice family called on McGinty to step down.
"These officers never provided testimony of what they did or what they didn't. These alleged experts never interviewed them," said Jonathan Abady, attorney for the Rice family.
If McGinty doesn't step down, Rice attorneys' are calling on the prosecutor to reveal what he'll ask at the end of his presentation in the secret grand jury room.
"We requested that he now commit and state his position before he goes into the grand jury and taints it further," said Chandra. "He needs to tell the public, since he's been claiming transparency. Will he be advocating for a charge against the officers? Yes or no. It's a simple question."
In response to Friday's news conference, the prosecutor's office released the following statement:
"The policy of the County Prosecutor's Office is to make the evidence in fatal use of force cases by police public before a decision on charging is made. Whatever the outcome of a case, the public should not be surprised by -- or unaware of the basis for -- any decision.
By ending the culture of secrecy that formerly surrounded these cases and taking all deaths at the hands of police to the Grand Jury for review, we expect to improve community confidence and to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary deaths. There will be fewer mistakes and fewer deaths.
The entire case, including all the facts that we and the various investigative teams can find, will be given to the Grand Jury which must act according to the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.
No stone will be left unturned in our search for truth and justice. Some parties may be displeased with evidence or reports as they are disclosed, but by making them public before conclusion, there is an opportunity to correct errors.
We have confidence in the integrity of the Grand Jury and believe that justice can be achieved."
A grand jury will decide whether Officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, will face charges.
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