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No Federal Charges in Tamir Rice Case

Justice Department closes case involving Cleveland 12-year-old
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2020 12:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Tamir Rice would have turned 18 this year. But the Cleveland boy died at 12, shot by a police officer less than two seconds after cops arrived at the park where he was playing with a toy gun in broad daylight. On Tuesday, the Justice Department closed the case without charging the officers involved, CNN reports. A grand jury had in 2015 also declined to indict the officers, and neither was ever prosecuted. Timothy Loehmann, who was in field training at the time, fired the fatal shot; he was fired in 2017, but not over the shooting—the police department said he wasn't truthful about his employment history in his application for the job. Officer Frank Garmback, who was driving the patrol car, was suspended for 10 days over a tactical rule violation having to do with the way he drove to the scene.

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"This officer shot this 12-year-old boy within, within less than two seconds, within one second of arriving on the scene. There's no justification for it whatsoever. This was a child playing in a park," the Rice family's attorney said in response to the DoJ's decision. "This case involves the totally unjustified shooting of a 12-year-old child. This is part of a problem that we've been living with as a society for as long as anyone can remember, that is the unjustified excessive use of force by police officers against people of color." Both officers have testified they believed Tamir's toy air pellet gun was real, NPR reports. The 911 caller had noted it probably was not, but the dispatcher failed to give the cops that information. "There is insufficient evidence to establish that Officer Loehmann acted unreasonably under the circumstances," the DoJ says in a statement. (Read more Tamir Rice stories.)

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