The mother of a 12-year-old boy shot dead while brandishing a toy gun wants authorities to skip the grand jury. At a press conference in Cleveland, the attorney for Samaria Rice urged prosecutors to avoid a grand jury trial and directly charge the officer who shot Rice's son Tamir in a park last month, NBC News reports. "There is nothing written anywhere in the law that says police officers are to be treated differently than any other citizen," says Benjamin Crump, who has also worked on the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases. Crump's plea comes after nationwide protests derided grand juries that declined to charge white police officers who had killed Brown and Eric Garner, both of whom were black and unarmed.
Rice says her tragedy began when two boys knocked on her door Nov. 22 saying an officer had shot Tamir twice in the stomach, ABC News reports. She ran to the park where Tamir lay on the ground, unattended by police, and saw her 14-year-old daughter in the back of a squad car (the daughter later said police had tackled and handcuffed her, Samaria adds). "I knew she was crying for me, but I couldn’t see her hands," says Samaria. She asked police what had happened but was only told to "calm down." Forced to choose between being with her older daughter and younger son, Samaria "of course ... [went] with the 12-year-old." Officers made her "sit in the front of the ambulance truck like I was a passenger" on the ride to the hospital, she says, where Tamir died the next day. (Read more police shooting stories.)