Sources have told a Ohio news station that the evidence collected in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice does not support criminal charges:
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s investigation of the shooting of a 12-year-old boy at a Cleveland rec center does not support that a crime was committed, a source familiar with the case told newsnet5.com.
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office has turned its investigation into the shooting of Tamir Rice over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
The source told newsnet5.com that the “investigation and evidence shows the lack of evidence to support that a crime was committed in the shooting of Tamir Rice.”
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office said that they do not decide whether a crime was committed or whether a shooting was justified in cases like these; rather, they present evidence and facts to the Prosecutor and the Prosecutor decides whether to present charges to a grand jury.
It’s very important to note that the final decision to prosecute is up to the prosecutor; the source is merely stating his or her opinion that the evidence does not support criminal charges… and I’d have to agree that that assessment in this tragic death.
Two officers in a singe squad car were responding to calls of a “man with a gun” in a public park, and that the man was pointing a handgun at passersby.
The person in question, Tamir Rice, was 5’7″, 195 lbs.
The more senior officer, Frank Garmback, was driving the squad car, and he drove the police car right up to the picnic shelter where the suspect was sitting. By the time the car stopped, the officer on the passenger side of the vehicle was mere feet away from Rice.
For reasons we may never know, Rice apparently made the fatal decision to move his hand towards the butt of the realistic airsoft gun as officer Timothy Loehmann exited the police car, and Loehmann fired two shots within two seconds of exiting the vehicle. One of those shots struck Rice, creating what was ultimately a fatal wound.
It has since come to light that Cleveland settled an excessive use of force lawsuit against Garmbeck in 2014, and that Loehmann resigned from another police department to keep from being fired for lacking the emotional stability to be a police officer.
Even if Garmbeck and Loehmann are less-than-ideal officers (I’m being charitable), it doesn’t seem to change the apparent fact of the case that Loehmann was a very close distance to what he had reason to believe was an armed suspect with a gun, and that Rice made a movement that Loehmann interpreted as a threat to draw a weapon.
As a matter of criminal law, the only thing that matters is that evidence doesn’t apparently support criminal charges. We’ll know soon enough if the prosecutor agrees with the assessment of the source.
Rice’s family has also filed a civil suit that will presumably go forward once the criminal investigation is complete. The officers involved may not face criminal charges in this case, but the civil suit could be another story entirely.